Today in LGBT History – August 1

My play Sing Meadowlark, based on Helen Schwartz’s book Sing, Meadowlark, Sing, had its premiere performance yesterday in The Villages, Florida. While the play itself is not a comedy, there are some funny lines, but the cast of women from The Villages made it hilarious! The audience loved it! And I learned more about what needs to be done with the play from this cast. The play was performed yesterday at about half the size of what it was when I arrived a week ago and after two rehearsals. The play was 90 minutes but it needs to be about an hour. So it’s back to the editing board to tighten it up even more, then perform it in Sequim and Palm Springs. I love writing in this genre. Two more plays are already on my waitlist. One is about a cat who lives with his lesbian owners on a boat. The other is my The Soldier, the Avatar, and the Holocaust book. And then I will begin writing my lesbian history of Key West.

Today in LGBT History – August 1

1819 – American author and novelist Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) is born in New York City. He was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period. His best known works include Typee (1846), a romantic account of his experiences in Polynesian life, and his whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851). His novella Billy Budd, left unfinished at his death, was published in 1924. Despite his marriage and children, recently scholars have begun to examine the homosexual undertones of Melville’s work and question the sexuality of the author

1863 – Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) wrote to Lewis K. Brown, “Your letters and your love for me are very precious to me, and I give you the like in return.” Whitman was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.

1936, Algeria – Fashion icon Yves Saint-Laurent is born in Oran, Algeria. After working under Christian Dior, Laurent assumed control of Dior’s house of fashion in 1957 upon Dior’s death. While his homosexuality was something that was widely known in the fashion world, it was not until 1991 that Laurent spoke publicly about it.

1939 – Frances Rummell (a.k.a Diana Frederics) (1907-1969) published an autobiography called Diana: A Strange Autobiography. It is the first explicitly lesbian autobiography in which two women ended up happy together. Frances V. Rummell was an educator and a teacher of French at Stephens College. This autobiography was published with a note saying, “The publishers wish it expressly understood that this is a true story, the first of its kind ever offered to the general reading public”.

1961 – Sixteen men attend the first meeting of the Mattachine Society in Washington DC at the Haywood-Adams Hotel. The FBI learned of the meeting and began tracking the group.

1966 –Three years before Stonewall, gay and transgender customers rioted at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco response to continued police harassment. The restaurant and the surrounding neighborhood sustained heavy damage. The following night demonstrators threw up another picket line, which quickly descended into new violence and damage to the restaurant.

1976 – UCLA releases a study that finds that lesbian mothers’ sexual orientations do not influence the sexual orientations of their children.

1977 – Bette Midler declines an offer to debate gay rights with Anita Bryant in Rolling Stone magazine.

August 1-7, 1981 – Vancouver Mayor Mike Harcourt, fulfilling an election promise, proclaims Gay Unity Week.

1983 – The US House of Representatives holds hearings on the government’s response to AIDS. They conclude that the Reagan administration is negligent and that funding is inadequate.

1988 – New York governor Mario Cuomo blasts the Republican-controlled state senate during a news conference for excluding sexual orientation from a hate-crimes bill. “Gays make a stronger case than anybody in terms of need for this legislation, based on episodes – ugly, cruel, violent, dangerous episodes.”

1988 – The Library Board of Trustees votes to allow “Annie on My Mind” by Nancy Garden to remain on the shelves of the Rockingham County, N.C. libraries. The book is about a lesbian relationship between two seventeen-year-olds.

1991 – The first issue of Queer Reality, a magazine produced by the UK organization OutRage, is published.

1992 – UCLA researchers Dr. Laura Allen and Dr. Robert Gorski publish in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences their findings that the anterior commissure, a group of nerve cells in the brain, is larger in gay men than in women or heterosexual men.

1995, Zimbabwe – After refusing to allow the Gay and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe to exhibit at a human rights book fair, President Robert Mugabe opens the fair with an attack on lesbians and gay men, saying they are alien to African traditions and that he doesn’t believe “they have any rights at all.”

1996 – Representative Jim Kolbe (born June 28, 1942) of Arizona becomes the fourth congressman-and second Republican-to come out after an e-mail campaign launched by San Francisco activist Michael Petrelis and others who protest his support of the Defense of Marriage Act. He divorced his wife in 1992. In 2013, he married his partner Hector Alfonso. In 2013, Kolbe was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.

1998, The Netherlands – Gay Games V opens in Amsterdam. The games run until August 7th and include 14,715 athletes from 68 countries.

2001, Germany – Angelika and Gudrun Pannier, dressed in black tuxedos and white bow ties, exchanged rings and sealed Germany’s first legal homosexual union with a kiss. The new Partnership Law allows inheritance and health insurance rights, but does not give gay partnerships the same tax privileges as heterosexual marriages.

2005 – The California Supreme Court rules that country clubs must offer gay members who register as domestic partners the same discounts given to married ones, a decision that could apply to other businesses such as insurance companies and mortgage lenders.

2006 – The American Academy of Pediatrics Journal publishes “Consensus Statement on Management of Intersex Disorders,” recommending new approaches, emphasizing caution with using surgeries.

2008 –  Carla Barbano and Joy Spring, of Middletown, NY, are among the first out-of-staters married in Provincetown, Massachusetts. A state study estimated that more than 30,000 out-of-state gay couples, most from New York, wed in Massachusetts over the next three years, boosting the state’s economy by $111 million.

2009, Israel – A masked gunman kills two and injures 15 at the gay youth center in Tel Aviv. The next day 20,000 people hold a spontaneous rally against homophobia in Tel Aviv. President Shimon Peres was one of the speakers. The killer was indicted in 2013.

Let your voice speak out and change the world! 




(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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