Remembering LGBTQ Acquaintances

Somehow, in my 53 years, I never realized until recently that the refrain of “Auld Lang Syne” is posed as a question:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?

As someone who pursues the life of a historian, and as someone who has devoted much of the past year to bringing to mind lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and queer acquaintances, I want emphatically to not forget.

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Giving a Rat’s Ass about LGBTQ History, 2017 edition

My grandfather, who in conversation would often ask “Why should I give a rat’s ass?” as if out of the blue, loved to tell stories of yesteryear.  Although I was never sure if his salty language came from growing up in the Thumb or working in Flint’s factories, I came to understand his storytelling as a significant means of conveying personal values, culture, and history to his grandkids.

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Jon Nalley’s Affidavit

Thanks to Jon Nalley’s arrest, their names live on.

On January 23, 1991, New York police arrested 263 demonstrators following the rush hour takeover of Grand Central Station by the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.  ACT UP members brought the city’s evening commute to a halt.  A banner hung over the Metro North arrival board that read “One AIDS Death Every 8 Minutes.”

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Homage to Newsletters

The stapled sheets of paper contained everything from the puzzling to the profound.

“Help us find the ‘cow collar’…  During the Gay Pride Week rally Steve lent us a collar (or whatever it is called) to hold down the papers on the table,” the Association of Suburban People newsletter announced in September 1977.  Anyone with information on the object’s disappearance was urged to call Wes.

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Origin Stories

The statewide LGBTQ civil rights advocacy group Equality Michigan, also known as EQMI, made an embarrassing gaffe last month when it used the wrong photo to identify organization founder Henry Messer in promoting a key annual fundraiser.  Instead of Messer, the promotion showed his partner of 62 years, Carl House.  EQMI then exacerbated its mistake by again identifying House as Messer at the event itself.

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