Celebrating Bayard Rustin’s Centennial

Bayard Rustin with Children, 1964__Anyone interested in LGBT history or the history of the modern Civil Rights Movement would enjoy learning a bit about Bayard Rustin (1912-1987). And I’ve just discovered that some organizations at Yale Law School, as well as the Yale Law Library, will be celebrating Rustin’s centennial this fall with various exhibits and events at Yale (in New Haven, Connecticut). Details aren’t available yet, but I’ll try to keep track of any events of interest, and to the extent they are open to the public (as these events sometimes are), I’ll announce them here for those who might be close enough to New Haven to check them out. If readers know about other events in other places, please let me know.

Who is Bayard Rustin?

If you don’t know, you are not alone. In fact, an article about Rustin in this summer’s issue of The Yale Law Report is called “The Most Important Civil Rights Leader You’ve Never Heard Of.” The article begins:
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LGBT Youth, Sex Discrimination, and 40 Years of Title IX

Roman Numberal IX

This summer marks forty years of Title IX, the landmark federal law banning sex discrimination in federally funded schools and other education programs. President Nixon signed Title IX into law in June of 1972.

Title IX: 1970s photo of Sen. B. Bayh
Former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, pictured here in a snazzy track suit with female athletes in the 1970s, was an architect and chief proponent of Title IX.

Much if not most of the media coverage of the law’s fortieth anniversary has, understandably, focused on the law’s achievements in opening opportunities for women, especially in school athletics. (Some news outlets have noted, by the way, that this summer, women will for the first time outnumber men on the U.S. Olympic team.) But the anniversary also provides a reason to reflect on how Title IX—and other sex-discrimination laws—have helped LGBT youth in schools. Continue reading “LGBT Youth, Sex Discrimination, and 40 Years of Title IX”