Different from the Others, the Beginning

This week, we will begin our second series, in which we will discuss queer representation in film and television. For the first time in the history of this project, it will be in chronological order. To start this series, we find ourselves at the beginning, at the first film to portray queer people positively and explicitly: Different from the Others (Anders Als Die Andern) which was released in 1919. We want to clarify that this is not a media review, so we will not be discussing the quality of the film, but instead its existence and its contents.

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The Golden Orchid

After a long stretch of Grace stepping up and saving the day by writing the articles, Laura is back and excited to talk about Golden Orchid Society. The Golden Orchid Society was a collection of organizations in South China that began during the Qing dynasty and existed from approximately 1644 to 1949 when they were banned because they were associated with an attempt to overthrow the Manchu Emperor. Over the course of 300 years, however, they created an order of women who stood in solidarity with other women against heterosexual marriages that were oppressive at best and far too often abusive. While some of the women may have been heterosexual and avoiding marriage for reasons unrelated to their sexuality, it was common for members of the association to be lesbians or bisexual. They found the safety and family in the Golden Orchid Society that their biological relatives had never provided them.

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Sir Ewan Forbes, the Doctor

To begin our week of daily articles, we have decided to look into the life of the transgender doctor, Sir Ewan Forbes. Forbes was born into a noble family, and later in life gained the title of baronet. From a young age, Ewan was not interested in conforming to gender norms. Through most of his childhood, Ewan was able to avoid acting and dressing as Scottish society expected him to and was only seen in traditionally female clothing on special occasions. Most of his life, that easiness followed him as it did for most people who were born into a privileged family like his.

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Osh-Tisch, the Warrior

This week, we will be looking at the incredible warrior, Osh-Tisch. Before we start, we must clarify some important things. In this article, we will be referring to Osh-Tisch as baté, which is a Crow word referring to a person assigned male at birth who is a woman. We will be using this word, because it is the word she used for herself, and while we embrace giving new words to old experiences, we are not here to strip away the words people used to describe themselves.

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Josephine Baker, a Woman with Eclectic Talents

For our fifth article in our World War 2 series, we move to Josephine Baker, a dancer, singer, spy, mother, and bisexual woman of colour. It is rare for us to identify a historical figure so clearly, but with some help from her son, historian Jean-Claude Baker, we can. Born on June 3, 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Baker’s life was never without its share of obstacles. Josephine Baker, however, wasn’t familiar with the word “stop”; she worked as an entertainer, an activist, a military woman, and a mother, and did not rest. Summarizing her life in a brief, concise, and full manner is next to impossible, but we will do our best.

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Kristina, King of Sweden

In the past three articles, we have chosen rather easy topics, or at least easy in one aspect. They have a clear identity, but with Christina, that is not the case. This article is where the interpretation portion of this project will come on the main stage, as there are many different queer labels Christina could have fallen under. Thus, without her to clarify, we can only do our best with the information we have. This is just our opinion; if you disagree, and have a good reason, please leave it in the comments and know that your thoughts have the same weight as ours. The only thing we know for certain about her is there was no way she was heterosexual, cisgender, and dyadic.  

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Sappho, the Poetess

In this first article, we thought it best to start as close to the beginning as possible, though we’re certain the project will jump throughout history. While there is no way to know who was the first human to experience same-gender romantic attraction, we will go back as far as records allow. We’ll go to the origin of the word for attraction between women and one of the most recognizable figures in history: Sappho.

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