(Editor's note: October is LGBT History Month, celebrated annually to recognize the notable achievements of LGBT people throughout time. Each day this month, Equality Forum will feature one LGBT icon who has made notable contributions to society and SDGLN will publish the story here in the Causes section. View previous LGBT History Month icons HERE.)
Arthur Dong is an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker best known for chronicling Asian-American history and LGBT life. He earned an Oscar nomination in 1984 for “Sewing Woman,” about his mother’s immigration to America from China, which he produced as film student at San Francisco State University. As a result of the film’s success, he founded DeepFocus Productions to produce, direct and write projects close to his heart.
“Stories from the War on Homosexuality” (2005), Dong’s first DVD collection, features a trilogy of films focused on gay issues, including “Coming Out Under Fire” (1994), his Peabody Award-winning documentary about World War II policies impacting gay and lesbian service members; “Licensed to Kill” (1997), a study of convicted murderers of gay men; and “Family Fundamentals” (2002), a look at conservative Christian families with gay children.
Dong’s 2007 documentary “Hollywood Chinese” was featured on the PBS series “American Masters” in 2009. The film is included in his second DVD collection, “Stories from Chinese America,” which was released in 2010.
In the early 1990s, Dong produced 13 documentaries for Los Angeles' KCET-TV’s “Life & Times." For the first national PBS series about gay issues, “The Question of Equality,” he directed the episode, “Out Rage ’69,” about New York’s famous Stonewall Riots—the uprisings that helped galvanize the modern LGBT civil rights movement.
Along with other recognition, Dong has received three Sundance Film Festival Awards and five Emmy nominations. He has also received two GLAAD Media Awards and the OUT 100 Award for his work on “Licensed to Kill.”
In 2014 Dong turned his research for the film "Forbidden City, USA” into a book, which recieved the 2015 American Book Award. Most recently, he released his latest film, "The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor," and was appointed Distinguished Professor in Film at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
“If I can encourage adjustments or a wider sphere of thoughts or questioning, then I will feel that I’ve done something.”
Emery Hetrick & Damien Martin
In 1979 Dr. Emery Hetrick and Dr. Damien Martin founded the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a nonprofit organization in New York, originally named the Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth. The doctors created the institute to advocate for at-risk youth aged 13 to 21. The idea came after hearing about a 15-year-old boy who had been beaten and thrown out of an emergency shelter because he was gay.
In 1985 the institute established the Harvey Milk High School in cooperation with the New York City Department of Education. Named for the slain gay San Francisco city councilman, the school provides an alternative public education for LGBT youth. It is the largest school of its kind in the world. Programs include job training, HIV education and internships. Martin said the school was founded “for gay youths, partly because violence inflicted on young homosexuals made it impossible for some to stay in other schools.”
Hetrick and Martin helped establish a network of social service agencies serving New York’s LGBT community. Hetrick, an Ohio native, was a former medical director at the drug company Pfizer and a psychiatric specialist who worked at both Harlem Hospital Center and the Gouverneur Diagnostic and Treatment Center.
Martin, a native Philadelphian, was active in many gay rights organizations, including the Governor’s Task Force on Teen Suicide and the Child Welfare League of America’s Task Force on AIDS. He taught speech pathology at New York University.
Both men, life partners, died of AIDS-related complications.
“Blacks, Jews, and Hispanics are not thrown out of their families or religion at adolescence. ... Gay and lesbian kids are.” – Damien Martin
Mick Jagger is the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, a British rock band whose popularity has spanned more than 50 years. As one of the most influential and charismatic front men in history, Jagger has received many awards and accolades. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and was knighted in 2003. Rolling Stone magazine names him among the top 20 on its List of 100 Greatest Singers.
Immersed in the counterculture of the 1960s, Jagger and his bandmates became famous after releasing a string of successful albums and making TV and live concert appearances around the world. They collaborated with fellow superstars throughout the ’70s and ’80s, rubbing elbows with the famous and infamous, including Andy Warhol, the gay pop artist who created a portrait series of Jagger.
During the 1970s, Jagger adopted a gender-nonconforming stage persona, experimenting with makeup and glam-rock fashion. He became a fixture at New York’s famed Studio 54, often seen with gay icons like writer Truman Capote, fashion designer Halston and dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Jagger is credited with opening up “definitions of gendered masculinity.”
In 1985 Jagger performed at Live Aid in Philadelphia, where he covered “Dancing in the Street” with David Bowie, another gender-nonconforming rock star with whom he has been romantically linked.
Jagger also launched a successful solo career and acted in several movies, most notably the 1970 British crime drama “Performance,” in which he plays a bisexual.
Jagger and the Rolling Stones have been the subject of many documentaries, including “Gimme Shelter,” filmed during the band’s 1969 U.S. tour, during which several people died; “Sympathy for the Devil” by Jean-Luc-Goddard; and “Shine a Light” by Martin Scorsese.
Jagger has been married twice and is the father of seven children. He has been involved with other women and men over the years.
“I wasn’t trying to be rebellious … I was just being me.”