Queer African American Women and the History of Marriage
This photo and headline accompanied an article from the October 15, 1970 issue of Jet magazine. They reveal that long before the recent struggle for marriage equality began, African American women who love women have engaged with the institution of marriage and have fought to make it their own.
Edna Knowles, on the left, and Peaches Stevens were wed in Liz’s Mark III Lounge, a gay bar on the South Side of Chicago, “before a host of friends and well wishers.” The article ended by noting, “although the duo has a type of ‘marriage license’ in their possession, the state’s official marriage license bureau reported it had no record of their license.” This ending serves to remind Jet readers that Knowles and Stevens’ union was not legitimate in the eyes of the state, as does the use of quotes around the word “married” in the headline.
However, decades prior to this bold public display of queer affection, African American female couples in New York strategized alternative ways to obtain marriage licenses in the 1920s and 30s:
“Marriage ceremonies were held with large wedding parties which included several bridesmaids, attendants, and other wedding party members. Actual marriage licenses were obtained by either masculinizing the first name, or having a gay male surrogate obtain the license for the marrying couple. These marriage licenses were placed on file with the New York City Marriage Bureau.” - Luvenia Pinson, “The Black Lesbian: Times Past-Time Present,” Womanews, May 1980 p. 8.
Also during the 1930s, popular performer Gladys Bentley was making a living singing bawdy tunes and playing piano late into the night at various clubs all over New York, including one named after her.
Bentley married her white girlfriend in Atlantic City in a ceremony to which she invited friends in the entertainment industry:
“Columnist Louis Sobol remembered Bentley coming over to his table one night and whispering, ‘I’m getting married tomorrow and you’re invited.’ When Sobol asked who the lucky man was to be, she giggled and replied, ‘Man? Why boy you’re crazy. I’m marryin’ ——’ and she named another woman singer.” - Eric Garber, “Gladys Bentley: The Bulldagger Who Sang the Blues,” Out/Look, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1988, pp. 52-61.These examples show some of the various ways queer African American women have created public rituals to express their relationships and have therefore insisted on their rights to full citizenship, many decades prior to the current struggle for marriage equality.- Cookie
LGBTQ* American Commercials You Might Enjoy
(Microsoft) Outlook.com’s “Get Up To Date” features a Lesbian Wedding
This 30 second commercial featuring Macklemore’s music, is already making waves and receiving backlash online/in the media/in conversations by some of those around me. Remember, if you’d like to add a positive note or thank you or even a “like,” you can head directly over to YouTube and send Microsoft a shout out.
Currently there are 1,075 likes and 280 dislikes. If this was a graded test, Microsoft would be receiving at 79% positive (based on likes) grade right now. That’s not even a ‘B.’ — Rebecca
Video here. Click like and pass along!
"Abortion, gay marriage, and feminism won't pay your bills." claims tattedconservative
That’s true. All of those things in the original post are still important even if they don’t pay the bills (but they all have to do with economic justice in some way, so yanno). I definitely wanted to point out that you *can* make money from doing feminist work and I would even argue that it is important that people make money from doing feminist work. It shouldn’t just have to be a side hobby or something we have to fit in at the end of the day after some other job. Feminists can make money from their passions, too.also there are tax benefits which married couples receive over domestic partnerships..Abortion, gay marriage, and feminism won’t pay your bills.p sure that abortion doctors pay their bill using abortion money cant b2 sure tho
and the wage gap so feminism would actually help many pay bills.
overall, you’re right
let’s just abolish capitalism. Fuck bills.
Wait I have my job because I’m a feminist. And I just paid some bills, so…IDK who lied to you.
Seriously, though. I get paid way more now working for/with feminists than I ever did as a minimum wage drone at a for-profit company.
Also I’m not sure why whether something pays the bills or not is relevant to whether it’s worthwhile.
“One month after Washington State voters approved the state’s marriage equality law in Ref. 74, same-sex couples get marriage licenses for the first time on December 6th, 2012. At around 1:30am, Larry Duncan, 56, left, and Randy Shepherd, 48, from North Bend, Wash. got their marriage license. The two plan to wed on December 9th, the first day it is possible for them to wed in Washington State. They have been together for 11 years.”
Complement with Scott Pasfield’s wonderful Gay in America photo project.
- This is adorable.
- SANTA! I KNOW HIM!
You should read this article on Buzzfeed about people whose lives were changed because their states legalized marriage equality, but be warned: you will probably cry a little bit.
; _ ;
For the people that say “marriage isn’t equality so it isn’t the most important thing to work for,” I show you these pictures.
Is it the end all of equality? Of course not. But it’s still extremely important and these are victories that deserve to be celebrated.
Four for four. All for love. Congratulations, America. Let’s go get married.
I’m so proud to be from Maryland. FUCK YEAH, CHARM CITY! FUCK YEAH, CHARMLESS CITY OUTSIDE CHARM CITY! FUCK YEAH, JOHN WATERS! FUCK YEAH, THE WIRE! FUCK YEAH, MARRIAGE EQUALITY!