Beginning on January 1st, each blog entry will begin with Today’s Highlight, focusing on one item in each day’s LGBT history or on something happening in the present that harbors back into history. It may be an historical item, a saying, a speech, a rant, or a heartfelt treasure. In addition, an honorarium button will appear which will allow you to partner with me to keep Today in LGBT History going. With your permission, your name will be included as an historical preservation partner on my blog.
Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – December 15
1928 – Having been published in Paris the previous July, Radclyffe Hall’s (12 August 1880 – 7 October 1943) “The Well of Loneliness,” the first major novel in English with an explicitly lesbian theme, is published in the U.S. Americans buy more than 20,000 copies of the book within the next month, making it a bestseller. Marguerite Radclyffe Hall was an English poet and author. She is best known for the novel The Well of Loneliness, a groundbreaking work in lesbian literature. Hall’s partner was Una Vincenzo, Lady Troubridge (8 March 1887 – 24 September 1963) who was a British sculptor and translator.
1950 – A U.S. Senate committee makes public its report on “The Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts.” Asserting that homosexuals are a security risk not simply because they are liable to blackmail but also because homosexuality inevitably perverts “moral fibre,” the report recommends stringent measures be taken to root all lesbians and gay men out of government. The federal government had covertly investigated employees’ sexual orientation at the beginning of the Cold War. The report states since homosexuality is a mental illness, homosexuals “constitute security risks” to the nation because “those who engage in overt acts of perversion lack the emotional stability of normal persons.”
1959 – Mattachine officer Don Lucas (1926 – Sept. 24, 2003) writes Boston Mattachine founder Prescott Townsend (June 24, 1894 – May 23, 1973) asking him to not begin a campaign for Massachusetts sodomy law reform. Reflecting the cautious conservatism of the current homophile movement, Lucas believes the risk of a backlash is too great.
1973 – The governing board of the American Psychiatric Association unanimously votes to change the classification of homosexuality and removes it from the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” This followed three years of pressure from gay liberation movement. The board bases this decision on its finding that most lesbians and gay men are clearly satisfied with their sexual orientation and show no signs of mental illness. The APA declares that “by itself, homosexuality does not meet the criteria for being a psychiatric disorder.”
1977, Canada – The National Assembly, in quiet late-night session, amends the Quebec Charter of Human Rights to include sexual orientation. It becomes first province and largest political jurisdiction in North America to provide legal protection for homosexuals.
1988, Netherlands – The Free University of Amsterdam convenes the International Scientific Conference on Gay and Lesbian Studies. The highlight of the session is a heated debate inspired by the Constructionism VS. Essentialism controversy, entitled “Homosexuality, Which Homosexuality?”
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(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at facebook.com/quistapp, Back2Stonewall.com, Lavender Effect, DataLounge.com, 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 email@example.com. Thanks!)