Musings of an Aging Lesbian

The sun is just walking up and the air is still. It will be 70 degrees today in Palm Springs, another beautiful, busy day. First pickleball, then the library, then a holiday event, then a movie with the Palm Springs Film Institute. Each morning I open my eyes and give thanks for being on this side of the turf, for my body and my health, and for Kelly and our life together. Getting old means saying goodbye to friends who go to the other side, remembering the course of life, and loving family and friends every single day. Grow old with me…the best is yet to be.

Rudyard Kipling said: If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten. The snippets of LGBTQ history here are the stories of our lives, the stories of the giants on whose shoulders we all stand. Learn about them then tell the stories and remember…

Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!


1725, UK – Margaret Clap was indicted for keeping a disorderly house – a Molly House – in which she procured and encouraged persons to commit sodomy. Her house in the City of London had been under surveillance since 10 December 1725. Clap may be characterized as the first “fag hag” to be documented in British history. She seems to have run her molly house more for pleasure than for profit. It was one of the most popular molly houses in London. Her house was probably a private residence rather than a public inn or tavern. Margaret Clap was found guilty as charged and was sentenced to stand in the pillory in Smithfield market, to pay a fine of 20 marks, and to two years’ imprisonment. During her punishment, she fell off the pillory once and fainted several times. It is not known what became of her, if indeed she survived prison.

1792 – The Commonwealth of Virginia criminalizes buggery, including female same-sex intercourse, with the death penalty.

1909 – Hermes Pan (December 10, 1909– September 19, 1990) was an American dancer and choreographer, principally remembered as Fred Astaire‘s choreographic collaborator on the famous 1930s movie musicals starring Astaire and Ginger Rogers. it was well known in the movie industry that Pan was gay. This information did not become public, and the identity of most of his partners is not known

1924 – The Society for Human Rights was founded by Henry Gerber  (June 29, 1892 – December 31, 1972) in Chicago. It was among the earliest organizations for gays in the United States, and would end less than a year later after police harassment resulted in Gerber being fired, financially crippling the organization. Henry Gerber, a German-born immigrant, receives a charter from the state of Illinois for a nonprofit corporation named the Society for Human Rights. Though the organization was intended to be an American equivalent of contemporary German LGBTQ emancipation groups, Gerber is arrested for creating an “immoral” organization and the society falls apart. Gerber was an early homosexual rights activist in the United States. Inspired by the work of Germany’s Magnus Hirschfeld  (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935) and his Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, Gerber founded the Society for Human Rights (SHR) in 1924, the nation’s first known homosexual organization, and Friendship and Freedom, the first known American homosexual publication. SHR was short-lived, as police arrested several of its members shortly after it incorporated. Although embittered by his experiences, Gerber maintained contacts within the fledgling homophile movement of the 1950s and continued to agitate for the rights of homosexuals. Gerber has been repeatedly recognized for his contributions to the LGBT movement and was posthumously inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1992

1931, Sweden – Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935), leader in the women’s suffrage and world peace movements, is presented with the Nobel Peace Prize. She is known as the “mother” of social work, was a pioneer American settlement activist/reformer, social worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women’s suffrage and world peace.In 1889 she co-founded Hull House, and in 1920 she was a co-founder for the ACLU. In 1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and is recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the United States. Her partner was Mary Rozet Smith (1868-1934), a Chicago-born US philanthropist who was one of the trustees and benefactors of Hull House.

1948 – The United Nations adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Among its key architects was former first lady and human rights activist Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962). Roosevelt had lifelong emotional support for her human rights work from her husband, Franklin, as well as from her beloved companion, Lorena A. Hickok (March 7, 1893 – May 1, 1968). Besides Roosevelt of the United States, the other major players in drafting this amazing declaration were René Cassin (France), Charles Malik (Lebanon), Peng Chun Chang (China), Hernan Santa Cruz (Chile), Alexandre Bogomolov/Alexei Pavlov, (Soviet Union), Lord Dukeston/Geoffrey Wilson (United Kingdom) William Hodgson (Australia), and John Humphrey (Canada).

1973 – The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to gay Australian novelist Patrick White (28 May 1912 – 30 September 1990). He is the first openly gay writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is widely regarded as one of the most important English-language novelists of the 20th century.

1981 – R.N. Bobbi Campbell (January 28, 1952 – August 15, 1984) becomes the first person with AIDS to go public in a San Francisco newspaper. He was the 16th person in San Francisco to be diagnosed with Kaposi Sarcoma and would become known as the K.S. Poster Boy.

1989 – In New York City, 5,000 protest the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to Safe Sex education and the promotion of condom use.

1990, Ireland – The Irish Prime Minister announces plans to legalize same-sex acts between consenting adults.

1997 – Florida’s Constitution Review Committee votes 6-2 to reject a proposal that sexual orientation be added to the classes of those granted protection under the state’s constitution.

1998, South Africa – The Treatment Action Campaign, or TAC, is founded by Zackie Achmat (born 21 March 1962) for the purpose of getting anti-retroviral access to HIV+ South Africans. He is a South African activist and film director. He is a co-founder the Treatment Action Campaign and known worldwide for his activism on behalf of people living with HIVand AIDS in South Africa. He currently serves as Board member and Co-director of Ndifuna Ukwazi (Dare to Know), an organization which aims to build and support social justice organizations and leaders, and is the Chairperson of Equal Education.

2008 –Christina Kahrl (born 1963), an open trans-woman, is the first LGBT person to be admitted into the Baseball Writers Association of America. The Association determines who is indicted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Kahrl is an activist on civil rights issues for the transgender community in her hometown of Chicago and a member of the Equality Illinois board of directors. The story of her coming out as a transgender sportswriter in 2003 was part of a GLAAD award-nominated segment entitled “Transitions” on HBO‘s Real Sports that aired in 2010.

Stand up, speak out, share your story!



(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at,, #LavenderEffect,, #ArronsGayInfo, #AllThingsQueer, #RSLevinson, #AmaraDasWilhelm,, #SafeSchoolsCoalition, 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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