Zdeněk Koubek

The relationship between gender and sports has always been a complicated one, made even more so by modern gender roles. After the 1930s, it was increasingly common for athletes in international circles to be put through what was called “sex tests,” aimed at removing “gender frauds.” This was particularly true for women’s sports. These tests, lacking in scientific reasoning, tended to be invasive and humiliating. The goal was to ensure that no men were competing in the women’s Olympics, and so athletes were measured against white cishetero standards of femininity.

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One of the men who started and fortunately escaped from these discussions was Zdeněk Koubek. He was a transgender man who, after some years of participating in the Women’s Olympics and breaking several world records, withdrew from competitive sports and prioritized his own happiness.

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tatiana de la tierra

In the age of the internet, recording queer history has never been easier; not only in sharing stories as we do at Making Queer History but in preserving stories that may otherwise be lost. Blogs, social media, videos, newsletters, and more have become the means by which we commemorate and celebrate one another and ourselves. Researching someone’s life is much easier when they’ve recorded it on their own blog, as is the case for tatiana de la tierra.

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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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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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Elmyr de Hory Part II

He spoke of his life [in Ibiza], saying:

“It was my kind of place. People seemed to live on terribly small incomes in those days. Anyone who had two hundred dollars a month was considered rich. I became friendly with some of the up-and-coming artists like Edith Sommer, Clifford Smith, and David Walsh. They had great talent, and I had a little more money at my disposal than they did-I wanted to help them, so I bought their work. That’s why I called myself an art collector. I myself, when I first arrived, kept working on my own paintings. I still had hopes that one day I would be a success. I made a series of watercolors of the port and some views of the Old City. But as I got more and more involved with Fernand and Réal, I more and more hid the fact that I was an artist. They were furious when I told them I’d spoken to Ivan Spence, the Englishman who ran the local art gallery, about having a show of my own. Finally, I stopped doing my own work altogether.”

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Elmyr de Hory Part I

This article contains mentions of the Holocaust and suicide.

When discussing queer people and the law, it isn't rare for the two to conflict. Not only because of the many queer identities that are or have been illegal throughout the world, but also because once you question the morality of one law, it is not a large leap to wonder at the morality of others. As we look at the life of one of the most famous art forgers in the world, that conflict becomes particularly relevant.

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Nils Asther

"Like Garbo, I have been given many labels by the newspapers, ‘Very nearly as handsome as Valentino' . . . 'the masculine version of that mysterious fascination with Garbo's.' [But] I am tired of being just a screen lover, and I hope someday to get a chance to be myself. I am rather like Greta in that I like to be alone. I love peace and quiet. Hollywood is really no place for me. I stagnate here . . . I only feel awake when the air is fresh and crisp as in my native Scandinavia.” — Nils Asther

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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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Lou Sullivan


To make a community is to come together. For queer folks, we often have to fight for that community. But what of those who are a part of multiple communities; those who do the work to bring communities together? For Lou Sullivan, pioneer of the grassroots FTM movement, it meant paving the way for himself and other gay trans men.

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Frieda Belinfante Part 1


In a world like ours, women like Frieda Belinfante are dearly needed. The first woman in Europe to be artistic director, conductor of an ongoing professional orchestral ensemble, and cellist, she was a woman who put her passions to the side when it became evident that the world around her needed something more. Let us look together at Frieda Belinfante, a queer woman who shaped the world and protected those around her.

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