Hidden LGBTQ+ Icons
Though the importance of LGBTQ+ rights have only been highlighted in the eyes of the general public in the last century or so, there have always been great queer people supporting the advancements that we see and experience every single day. Many people have their stories buried purely because of who they are.
Though many remember Martin Luther King Jr, not many know about Bayard Rustin, who worked closely with Martin Luther Kind Jr and organised the march on Washington, which was a rather large event that helped change the way that black people were treated in American for a long time to come. Also, it was Rustin who taught Martin Luther King Jr about Gandhi’s ideas about non-violence and civil disobedience. He was an openly gay man and, in the ’80s, switched his focus towards LGBTQ+ rights. He was forced out of the closest and didn’t get to come out by his own personal choice. For this reason, he believed that he didn’t deserve to be considered as one of the faces of queer black men as he saw sexuality as a private matter and it was not something that influenced his activism. He fought for gay rights because he believed that they deserved some kind of protection. He died of a perforated appendix in the August of 1987.
Although many people have heard of Francis Bacon, it is perhaps not a well-known fact that he was queer. Francis Bacon was an English philosopher, statesman and attorney general who lived during the 16th and 17th century. He also acted as Lord Chancellor of England and was widely regarded and as part of the foundation for the proper scientific method. Bacon is said to be the father of empiricism, the philosophical idea that all information is based upon sensory experience. He argued for the discovery of scientific knowledge based on inductive reasoning and careful and detailed observations of the events that occur within nature. He was also the first to figure out how to preserve meat. Still, the fact that he was almost exclusively attracted to men is something that the history books will likely often brush over. Authors of the time even referred to it as ‘masculine love’. He died of a fever and cold at the age of just sixty-six years old.
Queer people have been aiding the advancement of rights, science and many other things since the dawn of time. There have always been gay people in the world and just because it was not legal for them to exist, it did not make them go away, and they still found their own way to contribute to the continuation of society so that it could become the world that we live in today. What would it be like if these people had not lived their lives if they had not done the things that they had done if they had not existed as some people wish? We will never know, all we can do is be glad for the world that they have made for us to live in and continue to carve out the fairer future with our own hands.