The Daily Agenda for Saturday, June 22
June 22nd, 2013
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Augusta, GA; Berlin, Germany; Biarritz, France; Chicago, IL; Columbia, SC (Black Pride); Columbus, OH; Durango, CO; Essex, UK; Fribourg, Switzerland; Gloucester, UK; Houston, TX; Knoxville, TN; Napa, CA; New Orleans, LA; Olympia, WA; Palermo, Italy; Regina, SK; Salisbury, NC; Santa Fe, NM; Skopje, Macedonia; Sofia, Bulgaria (Cancelled by authorities, citing security concerns); Wausau, WI (Cancelled by organizers, citing security concerns); Wilton Manors, FL.
AIDS Walks This Weekend: Oakland, CA.
Other Events This Weekend: Frameline Film Festival, San Francisco, CA.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
Robert Hillsborough Murdered: 1977. A brutal murder thirty-six years ago in San Francisco has been largely forgotten today, but at the time it was credited as being the event that catalyzed the gay community and awoke the larger city to the growing violence against gay people. On the night of June 21, 1977, Robert Hillsborough, 33, and his friend, Jerry Taylor, 27, went out to a disco called The Whiz for a night of dancing, and sometime after midnight they stopped for a burger a few blocks from Robert’s apartment in the Mission District. When they left the burger joint, they were followed in their car by four young men, who attacked them when they parked their car at the sidewalk in front of Robert’s apartment.
Taylor was beaten, but he managed to escape and flee to a friend’s apartment. Robert wasn’t so lucky. He was beaten and stabbed 15 times by 19-year-old John Cordoba while yelling “Faggot! Faggot!” Some witnesses also reported that Cordoba yelled, “This one’s for Anita!” Neighbors were awakened by the commotion, and they rushed to Robert’s aid. But it was too late. Hillsborough died 45 minutes after the 12:45 a.m. attack at Missions Emergency Hospital. Cordoba and the three other assailants were arrested later that morning.
Hillsborough’s death struck a deep nerve in the gay community, which had sensed increasing violence in the wake of Anita Bryant’s anti-gay campaign in Miami which resulted in the defeat of a gay rights ordinance three weeks earlier (See Jun 7). “We live in a paranoid state,” said Harvey Milk, who was preparing his run for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, “and the death of Robert is only the culmination of a lot of violence that’s been directed at us.” The tragic event, coupled with Bryant’s win, galvanized the gay community, and San Francisco’s Pride celebration just a few days later attracted a record-breaking 300,000 people. The parade became an impromptu memorial march with participants erecting a makeshift shrine at City Hall.
Cordoba was charged with a single count of murder, along with Thomas J. Spooner, 21. The other two passengers in the car were not charged. Charges were later dropped against Spooner, and Cordoba was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Jimmy Somerville: 1961. The Scottish pop singer had his moment in the sun in the 1980s as lead singer with the synth pop group Bronski Beat (those of us of a certain age might remember “Smalltown Boy”) and the Communards. After the Communards split in 1988, he embarked on an off-again on-again solo career. His most recent album, 2009’s Suddenly Last Summer, contained acoustic versions of songs from his iPod. In 2011 Somerville released a dance EP, Bright Thing.
Jai Rodriguez: 1979. He was the “culture vulture” for Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He’s has also done some acting and some singing. In 2002, he created his own musical cabaret show, titled “Monday Night Twisted Cabaret,” which ran at New York gay club xl for a year. In 2005, he created and performed his own one night stage show, “Jai Rodriguez: xPosed,” which told the story of Rodriguez’s life and struggle to come out to his religious family. In 2012, he was a regular in the short-lived ABC sitcom, Malibu Country, starring Reba McEntire.
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?