Today in LGBT History – May 15

Of the LGBTQ teens responding, 77 percent said they felt down or depressed in the prior week. Of those LGBTQ teens whose families did not know of their sexual orientation, 78 percent said they heard negative comments from their families.—Family Equality Council

 Learning our history IS resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – May 15

1855 – Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) registers “Leaves of Grass” with the US Copyright agency. The collection is considered an expression of homosexuality and leads to years of controversy.

1871, Germany – Paragraph 175 is added to the GermanCriminal Code. It made homosexualacts between males a crime; In early revisions the provision also criminalized bestiality. The Nazis broadened the law in 1935 and gay men were forced to wear a pink triangle to indicate their homosexuality. In the prosecutions that followed, thousands died in Nazi concentration camps. It was repealed on March 10, 1994.

1969, Canada -The House of Commons votes to decriminalize private same-sex acts between consenting adults. The new law goes into effect in August.

1977 – CBS’ 60 Minutes broadcasts a segment on child pornography, concentrating on “adult homosexuals who prey on small boys.” Result: Teenagers from a conservative New York Catholic high school go on a bashing spree, beating one victim to death. They are later sentenced to 35 and 40 years in prison.

1979, Canada – Teacher Don Jones is dismissed by the Smeaton, Saskatchewan because of a complaint to school board that he is gay. 

1981 –  In the midst of Lesbian/Gay Awareness Week at the University of Florida, a fraternity-circulated petition asserting “Homosexuals need bullets-not acceptance” draws the signatures of almost fifty people. “We don’t have anything else to do,” says one of the petition’s organizers. “We’re just out here having a good time. I don’t believe in queers.”

1988 – Having tied up, tortured, and robbed one gay man the night before, two Hartford, Connecticut, teenagers — Sean Burke and Marcos Perez — bludgeon Richard Reihl to death. Despite attempts by the defense to portray the two teenaged assailants as star athletes and “All-American boys” who deserve leniency and compassion, a judge sentences them to forty and thirty-five years in prison, respectively, for the killing.

1996 – The Episcopal Church court rules that there is no “core doctrine” against ordaining a gay man as a deacon, the clergy rank below that of priest.

2008 – The California Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. By November 3rd, 2008 more than 18,000 same-sex couples did so. On November 4, California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage, called Proposition 8, which prevented more same-sex marriages.

2010, Greenland – The country’s first LGBT Pride parade takes place. It’s the second largest public gathering in Greenland with over 2% of the country’s population attending.

Stand up, speak out, share your story!




(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at,, Lavender Effect,, Arron’s Gay Info, All Things Queer, RS Levinson, Amara Das Wilhelm,, Safe Schools Coalition, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at Thanks!)

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