Dec 28 2009

New-amsterdam1 Deep within a New York Times story, "His Specialty? Making Old New York Talk in Dutch" by Danny Hakim, is a bit of delicious LGBT history. We get a rare glimpse that gays were very much part of the making of this nation and heroes to boot. Mr. Charles Gehring has spent most of his life translating documents from the early years in New York from Dutch to English. The result has been a fascinating insight to the influence of the Dutch on our early years. One that has often been overlooked.

In The Times story was this piece of LGBT history and just might be the earliest record of a LGBT person in America:

"Mr. Gehring’s translation of the journal of Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert, a barber-surgeon and a likely ancestor of Humphrey Bogart, was turned into the graphic novel “Journey Into Mohawk Country,” by the artist George O’Connor. The journal chronicles van den Bogaert’s journey through the Mohawk Valley to Oneida, a pathbreaking trip in the winter of 1634.

Years later, van den Bogaert was made commander of Fort Orange, site of present-day Albany, but fled back into Indian country after his fellow colonists discovered he was gay. Van den Bogaert was pursued by the Dutch, captured and brought back, but he escaped when a sheet of floating ice damaged the fort. He drowned in the Hudson before he got very far."