Madame Satã: The Ultimate Queer Archetype

From the smoldering lands of the Northeastern coast of Brazil to the glamorous city of Rio de Janeiro, there’s no more appropriate itinerary for João Francisco dos Santos, better known by his drag persona Madame Satã, or Madam Satan. His fiery and controversial personality not only served as a muse but as a living and walking affirmation against oppression and those who want, without rest, to destroy beautiful things.

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Bayard Rustin: At the intersection of black and queer


Black. Gay. Activist. During an era when segregation and severe homophobia began rearing its ugly head in the U.S, an era when the AIDS crisis was just beginning to shake the world at its core Bayard Rustin was in the trenches fighting first for the civil rights of his fellow African American brothers and sisters, and later: the lesbian and gay community. Although Rustin faced harsh criticisms and scrutiny for his identity, his [queer] intervention concerned more than just the iconic mass march on Washington as he was an advocate and often silent leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence and gay rights. A man at the intersection of black and queer, devoted his life with purpose unlike any I’ve ever seen.

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Redefining the Dandy: The Asexual Man of Fashion

Dandies appeared on the page, stage, and European streets beginning in the nineteenth century, reaching into the twentieth century. Although these men were slaves to fashion, they pioneered a new mode of queer expression still emulated today, both in gender expression and in lifestyle. Here we’re exploring the dandy lifestyle as queer––not solely homosexual––with a particular focus on the dandy as asexual, an often ignored historical possibility. We’ll also take a closer look at the similarities between the dandy lifestyle, nonbinary gender expression, and asexuality.

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Catherine Bernard: A question in studying asexual history

When studying queer history, especially asexual and aromantic history, silence is an immediate problem. The only way to know whether or not someone is asexual or aromantic is through their own identifying as such. The newness of asexual and aromantic communities and silence around sexual orientation has robbed us of this. Finding asexuality historically as an identity, instead of a choice or behavior, is often impossible. Instead of hoping for a definite answer, we must look at behavior, despite every claim that asexuality and aromanticism are identities, not behaviors, read between the lines, and accept that we may never know.

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Chrystos

In this article, I will explore the life and impact of Menominee two-spirit lesbian activist, formidable writer, and fierce warrior with a blade to the throat of corruption and injustice; Chrystos. From a harsh upbringing riddled with sexual, physical and emotional abuse, mental illness, and the pain of surviving on the streets as a Native American in a world that silences their very existence, Chrystos self-educated themselves and became a voice for the broken, beaten, and oppressed. To this day, their accomplishments as an Indigenous rights activist and poet has been widely recognized, won numerous awards, and politics are an essential part of their writing with their life as a lesbian and Native American being unapologetically at the forefront of it all. For their own personal preferences, I will be using they/them/their pronouns.

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Kitty Genovese

The most famous picture of her—dark tousled hair cropped short and the whisper of a cheeky grin about her lips—is actually a mugshot, taken in 1961 for bookmaking. She ran a small betting system out of her place at Ev’s Eleventh Hour Sports Bar, taking patrons’ money for horseracing. Known for her skill and good humor, she had been brought into the police station and promptly let go. It was a minor charge, one that she conveniently never told her family back in Connecticut about. In most iterations, the placard with her charge and booking ID is cropped out of the image, leaving only the hint of the string blending into the plaid of her shirt. This is the picture that accompanied the 1964 New York Times headline:

37 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call Police

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Alvin Baltrop

“I can tell a story and I try to tell my whole feelings--the touch, the smell, and feelings. All I’m afraid of now is being like a few other guys I know who took photographs. When they die, maybe the family comes in and sees all this work they can’t do anything with, and they just shove it into the garbage. I want people to see these photographs and say ‘this is something from my time.’” Alvin Baltrop

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Hamish Henderson

Hamish Henderson is not widely known, despite his contributions to Scottish culture. Despite being a proud bisexual, and greatly contributing to LGBT activism, this facet of his identity is largely ignored in discussions of the man himself. A folklorist, poet, and activist, Hamish Henderson (1919-2002) was one of the major forces in the Scottish Renaissance of the 20th Century, a period of time where Scottish art and political thinking flourished. His song ‘Freedom Come-All-Ye’ is probably his most well known piece of work, has been suggested as an alternative national anthem and was sung at the Scottish Commonwealth Games in 2014. Beyond this, his contributions to the promotion and preservation of Scottish Culture can still be seen today. 

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Alan Turing

There are a myriad of accounts about Alan Turing's life. You can read biographies, watch films, and browse entire websites dedicated to the man dubbed 'the father of artificial intelligence'. But many of these accounts fail on a number of fronts. Some downplay his sexuality, others ignore it outright, and only a handful recognize that Alan Turing's achievements are as much down to his early romantic experiences as they are to his intellectual prowess.

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Frank Kameny

In 1957, a man named Frank Kameny would go on to lose his position as an astronomer at U.S. Army’s Map Service. He, like many others, was a victim of the Lavender Scare - a menace that destroyed the lives of queer people in the United States. It resulted in dismissal from your station and destroyed hopes of finding another job in your field or any job for that matter. But Kameny, never one to sit down and take anything, protested his treatment. He took his case to the Supreme Court, but his petition got denied. This one act of injustice would start Kameny on a mission. Not to change things for himself, but to change things for his entire community. Some would say he was too radical or militant, and for his time, he most definitely was. But, it’s that kind of radical militancy that helped him change the lives of his people.

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