Secret #2: Gay Pilgrims
The first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Point in 1621 may have been attended by gay Pilgrims. According to Boston.com, in 1637 two men at Plymouth faced execution because they were "convicted of what the law books said was a grave moral crime" -- being in a gay relationship. Richard Pickering, deputy director of Plimoth Plantation, the living museum of Colonial and Native American history, notes gays and lesbians "did not have the opportunity to pursue the kind of lives and identities that modern social structures allow." Though the maximum penalty for homosexuality was death, neither men were killed. Pickering says that Alexander, who was labeled the seducer and "therefore was considered more responsible," was branded with a hot iron and banished from the colony. Roberts was allowed to stay but he could not own land or be actively involved in politics.
Secret #3: Native Americans And The Two-Spirit Tradition
Thanksgiving in present day America is a mix of Native American autumnal celebratory traditions and traditions brought to the New World by colonists. The NorthEast Two-Spirit Society notes that there are roughly 400 indigenous Nations in the United States and 155 of those Nations have "documented multiple gender traditions" including those who are "Two Spirit," or individuals whose spirits "are a blending of male and female." Harland Pruden and Melissa Hoskins, Co-Chairs of NE2SS, write:
Secret #4: Gay Turkeys"The Two Spirits' mere existence threatened the colonizers' core beliefs; the backlash was violent. Sketches, housed at the New York City public library, depict Two Spirit people being attacked by colonizers' dogs." Secret #4: Gay TurkeysHomosexuality has been observed in many as many as 1,500 species -- including turkeys. There is even a YouTube clip in which two male turkeys chase each other around a Massachusetts yard just after gay marriage was made legal in the state.
Homosexuality has been observed in many as many as 1,500 species -- including turkeys. In this clip, two male turkeys chase each other around a Massachusetts yard just after gay marriage was made legal in the state.
Secret #5: An Awkward Thanksgiving
Going home for Thanksgiving? The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) wants you to consider their hilarious (and delightful) new campaign, "I'm Letting Aunt Betty Feel Awkward This Thanksgiving." GLAAD writes:
"The LGBT community has a ton to be thankful for from the past year. But we also have a long way to go. And believe it or not, putting down that forkful of stuffing for a minute and just talking about yourself (if you can) this Thanksgiving can make a huge difference. We've all had those Thanksgiving dinners where Aunt Betty decides this is the perfect time to discuss a year's worth of ailments and medical treatments. Well, you know what? If she can talk about her podiatrist, you can talk about your partner. The fact is, while you're scarfing down mashed potatoes and staying silent while everyone else at the table is freely speaking their minds, you're missing a golden opportunity to make real, honest progress by talking about your life, and the things you care about. It's okay if Aunt Betty feels a little awkward at first, it's important for her to know that someone she loves cares deeply about LGBT equality. And the more we all talk about what's important to us, the less awkward those conversations will become. Today some LGBT people can't be open about who they are. But if you do feel comfortable, speaking openly and honestly about your life with your loved ones is one of the best ways for all of us to move forward together."Secret #6: Thanksgiving's Unofficial Fruit
Fresh or fresh out of the can with those weird indentations still intact -- no table is complete without cranberries during the holidays. And seeing as cranberries are Thanksgiving's unofficial fruit -- we began to wonder about other fruit, including the word itself and how it became equated with gay men. The term first became used to refer to gay men in 1935, and some believe it was due to the word's prior association with "a girl or woman willing to oblige." Gay men have long been connected to slang that serves to emasculate them and "fruit" most likely falls into that category.
Secret #7: The NFL Gets Gayer
For many Americans there's nothing like a good game of football to finish off a Thanksgiving afternoon. And thanks to a change to the National Football League's Collective Bargaining Agreement made in September of this year, we might soon be seeing gay football players (or at least the groundwork has been laid for the possibility). The Agreement was altered to include "sexual orientation" in the non-discrimination clause which now reads: Section 1. No Discrimination: There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA.