The Thing About Today – October 26

October 26, 2020
Day 300 of 366

October 26th is the 300th day of the year. It is National Day in Austria, celebrating the anniversary of the Declaration of Neutrality in 1955.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Financial Crime Fighter Day, National Tennessee Day, National Day of the Deployed, National Mule Day, National Pumpkin Day, and National Mincemeat Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1689, General Piccolomini of Austria burned down Skopje to prevent the spread of cholera. He died of the disease himself soon after.
  • In 1774, the first Continental Congress adjourned in Philadelphia.
  • In 1825, the Erie Canal opened, allowing direct passage from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.
  • In 1854, businessman C. W. Post was born. He founded Post Foods.
  • In 1914, actor Jackie Coogan was born.
  • In 1920, astronomer and academic Sarah Lee Lippincott was born.
  • In 1921, the Chicago Theatre opened.
  • In 1934, basketball player and sportscaster “Hot Rod” Hundley was born.
  • In 1935, mathematician and academic Gloria Conyers Hewitt was born. She was the fourth African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics.
  • In 1936, the first electric generator at Hoover Dam went into full operation.
  • In 1942, English actor, singer, and director Bob Hoskins was born.
  • In 1945, actress and producer Jaclyn Smith was born.
  • In 1946, journalist, actor, and game show host Pat Sajak was born.
  • In 1956, actress and producer Rita Wilson was born.
  • In 1958, Pan American Airways made the first commercial flight of the Boeing 707 from New York City to Paris.
  • In 1961, actor Dylan McDermott was born.
  • In 1962, English actor and producer Cary Elwes was born.
  • In 1963, singer-songwriter and pianist Natalie Merchant was born.
  • In 1964, Canadian actor and producer Tom Cavanagh was born.
  • In 1968, Soviet cosmonaut Georgy Beregovoy piloted Soyuz 3 into space for a four-day mission.
  • In 1971, actor and singer Anthony Rapp was born.
  • In 1984, The Terminator premiered.
  • In 1985, the Australian government returned ownership of Uluru to the local Pitjantjatjara Aboriginals.
  • In 1999, Britain’s House of Lords voted to end the right of hereditary peers to vote in Britain’s upper chamber of Parliament.
  • In 2000, the Sony PlayStation 2 was launched in North American markets with 27 launch titles.
  • In 2001, the United States passed the USA PATRIOT Act into law. The negative impacts on Constitutional rights and freedoms continue to this day.
  • In 2015, Spectre, the twenty-fourth James Bond film, premiered.

October 26th is Intersex Awareness Day.

An internationally observed day designed to highlight human rights issues faced by intersex people, it marks the first public demonstration by intersex people in North America, on October 26, 1996, outside the venue in Boston where the American Academy of Pediatrics was holding its annual conference. Activists Morgan Holmes and Max Beck participated for the now-defunct Intersex Society of North America, alongside allies from Transsexual Menace including Riki Wilchins.

Not intended as a demonstration, the intent was to deliver an address to challenge the opinion that cosmetic surgery to “fix” intersexed genitals was the best course of action. They were met with hostility and escorted out.

Intersex people are individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that, according to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies”. Intersex typically constitutes the I in LBGTQIA+.

The commemoration day itself began in 2003 with the establishment of a central awareness raising site. Intersex Awareness Day is an international day of grassroots action to end shame, secrecy and unwanted genital cosmetic surgeries on intersex children The day also provides an opportunity for reflection and political action.

Between October 26th and November 8th, intersex organizations bring attention to the challenges intersex individuals face, culminating in the Intersex Day of Remembrance on November 8th, the birthday of Herculine Barbin, also sometimes known as Intersex Solidarity Day.

The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

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