David Paynter

Internationally renowned David Paynter was a Sri Lankan artist raised in a Christian mission; his religious upbringing would influence him and his work throughout his life. His paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy for nearly twenty years, from 1923 to 1940. Though now remembered primarily for his Biblical scenes, he also painted portraits, focusing on labourers and people outside of the Sri Lankan upper class. He is remembered equally for his work and for a scandal surrounding it.

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Lesley Gore

In honour of Lesbian Day of Visibility recently, we wanted to look at a woman whose music is incredibly well-known, but whose queerness is often erased. Her music has been used in PSAs and presidential campaigns alike, and she worked hard to become a prolific singer, songwriter, actress, and LGBTQ+ activist. Lesley Gore was a vibrant and proud Jewish lesbian. Unlike many of the people we write about, she was fortunate enough to have the language to talk about her identity—and did. It’s an unfortunate truth that one of the rare people we’ve written about who used clear terms to describe their experiences still had her experiences erased.

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Salim Halali

— Tom Cohen

The life story of Salim Halali is one with countless branches. His experiences as a gay Jewish man in Paris in the 1930’s are as eventful as one would imagine, and his music career is not only well known but well remembered, what with being crowned the “King of Shaabi” at the height of his popularity. He lived just as extravagantly behind closed doors, often throwing lavish parties with his two pet tigers. There's much to be said of his storied life.

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Jane Addams

Historians erasing queerness from the narrative isn’t new. Jane Addams’ story has gone another way; her queerness is known, and cannot be erased. Without it, her legacy would not exist in the same way. Instead, scholars and historians have attempted to use her work to overshadow her queerness while claiming the opposite was happening. Acknowledging one part of her life does not erase another; we must look at all the parts of her life to understand who she is and why she lived the life she did.

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Coccinelle

“Dr. Burou rectified the mistake nature had made and I became a real woman, on the inside as well as the outside. After the operation, the doctor just said, 'Bonjour, Mademoiselle', and I knew it had been a success.” — Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy

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György Faludy

György Faludy ranks high on the list of revolutionary bisexual writers. Considering the people he shares that category with, that is no small thing. A Jewish man who was born in Hungary and spent most of his life in love with his home country, he was the picture of a patriot. In that, he got in scuffles with the state more than once. Upon finding, again and again, the affection he lavished upon his homeland to be unreturned, he lavished more, from a distance when he could. A man who was remembered as having “... lived everywhere, met everybody, and was ousted from everywhere,” in the invitation to his 95th birthday party, we are excited to discuss with you the life of György Faludy.

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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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Billy Tipton and the Question of Gender

Gender is strange, and when looking back in history it can seem doubly so. Between constant language shifts, the erasure many transgender people suffered from cisgender historians, and—for safety and privacy reasons—trans people themselves staying hidden, it can seem impossible to identify transgender people in history. With transgender men, there is an additional wrench thrown in the works.

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Sophia Parnok, Russia's Sappho

For our last article in this year’s women’s history month celebration, we focus on a woman known throughout Russia as one of their first openly lesbian poets. Sophia Parnok was a Jewish poet born in Russia in 1885 and has grown a small reputation for being one of the first out lesbian poets in her home country. Though her work is not widespread, it is impactful. And while the government tried to curb that impact with censorship, today we will work to continue to spread that effect by sharing her story.

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Maryam Khatoon Molkara, a Woman who Changed her Country

For our third article in women’s history month, we will look at a pioneer for transgender rights in Iran, a woman who changed her country and the world, Maryam Khatoon Molkara. As a transgender woman of faith Maryam represents an often ignored sector of the queer community. To help fix this we will shine a light on the story of a woman who in 1987 faced religious leaders to change how transgender people were viewed within the Muslim community and the laws regarding transgender people in Iran. So now we are proud to look into the life of the woman responsible for changing the discussion around transgender rights in Iran.

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Bricktop, and the Happy Ending

In the first week of women’s history month, we go to the second half of a two-part article about the incredible Ada Smith, or more simply known as, Bricktop. As we reviewed last time, she was an incredible woman who was successful and loved throughout the nightlife in 20’s Paris. We left off on that light note, but just like most of the world, Bricktop’s life changed when World War 2 began, and that is what we will be exploring next.

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Bricktop, the Fabulous

To wrap up Black History Month, we are going to do another two-part article looking at a woman who was the center of the night scene in Paris during the 20’s. We will look at a woman who was not only talented in her own right, but also fostered the talent of the people around her, and made connections with some of the most incredible rising stars of her day. We will discuss the impact of a woman who was loved by almost everyone she interacted with. 

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Tamara de Lempicka's Life

When writing an article about an artist, one expects to have some discussion of the art created by the person in question, but in this case, that is going to be avoided. Tamara de Lempicka was a highly controversial artist, and there is no lack of people studying her work, no matter which side they fall on in regards to its worth. But we are not going to be looking at that, as we are not art experts, and have never claimed to be. We are going to be looking instead at her life, and it is an extraordinary one to discuss. Tamara was a bisexual woman who was made a refugee twice in her life, first by the Bolsheviks, then later by the Nazis. She was called bourgeois while simultaneously being poor, so she will no doubt provide more than enough for us to fill an article.

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