Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Today in Gay History

March 17, 1910

Happy Birthday -

Brother Outsider Bayard Rustin

H/T Wiki

Bayard Rustin March 17, 1910 –August 24, 1987 was an American civil rights activist, important largely behind the scenes in of the 1960s and earlier, and one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington. It was his early mastery of the philosophy of Gandhi that led him to be foremost in counseling the Rev. Martin L. King, Jr. on the techniques of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience .

For much of his career, Rustin lived in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood, in the union-funded Penn South complex, from 1978 with his partner Walter Naegle. He became an advocate on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people and causes in the latter part of his career; however, his homosexuality was the reason for attacks from many governmental as well as interest groups.

Solely because of his homosexuality, he agreed to remain largely in the background of the civil rights movement once Dr. King rose to leadership.

A year before his death in 1987, Rustin said: "Twenty-five, thirty years ago, the barometer of human rights in the United States were black people. That is no longer true. The barometer for judging the character of people in regard to human rights is now those who consider themselves gay, homosexual, or lesbian."


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