By Brian Burns and Judd Proctor
“National Coming Out Day”
Celebrated by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies every October 11, National Coming Out Day is aimed at bringing visibility to a once-hidden community. It’s done through workshops, speak-outs and rallies.
The idea materialized just four months after the second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 11, 1987. A hundred LGBT activists met in Manassas, Virginia, and worked out the details, choosing the date of the second march, October 11, to mark the day.
“James Whale And His Pictures”
British-born theater and film director James Whale expressed an early interest in art. He learned to stage plays while a prisoner in World War I.
In 1930, after having moved to the states, he met handsome assistant story editor David Lewis in Hollywood. They openly shared a home in Pacific Palisades for twenty years.
Whale is known for directing horror films such as Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and The Invisible Man, which were all blockbuster hits for Universal Pictures.
Whale retired in comfort and pursued his first love – painting. A stroke left him depleted, and he committed suicide in 1957.
The 1998 film, Gods And Monsters, depicted a fictional account of Whale’s final days. The role of James Whale was played by out actor, Ian McKellen.
It was the evening of October 31, 1969 – Halloween night. About sixty members of the Gay Liberation Front and the Society for Individual Rights were staging a protest. They stood in front of San Francisco’s Examiner, holding signs and shouting slogans, demanding an end to the newspaper’s discriminatory editorial policies. The paper had recently run news articles disparaging gay people.
The newspaper countered their peaceful protest with Examiner employees dumping a bag of purple printer ink from a third floor window onto the crowd below.
At that point, a few protesters used the same ink to scrawl slogans like “Gay Power” onto building walls, and stamp purple hands throughout downtown San Francisco. The police arrived and knocked protesters to the ground, ending what would be known as the “Friday of the Purple Hands.”