Musings of an Aging Lesbian
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!
THIS DAY IN LGBT HISTORY – DECEMBER 19
1955 – Frank Kameny (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011) is fired from his job as an astronomer in the United States Army’s Map Service in Washington, D.C. because of his homosexuality. A few days later he is blacklisted from seeking federal employment. These events spur Kameny into being a gay rights activist. He has been referred to as “one of the most significant figures” in the American gay rights movement. In 1961 Kameny and Jack Nichols (March 16, 1938 – May 2, 2005), fellow co-founder of the Washington, D.C., branch of the Mattachine Society, launched some of the earliest public protests by gays and lesbians with a picket line at the White House on April 17, 1965. In 1963, Kameny and Mattachine launched a campaign to overturn D.C. sodomy laws; he personally drafted a bill that finally passed in 1993. He also worked to remove the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association‘s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In 1971, Kameny became the first openly gay candidate for the United States Congress when he ran in the District of Columbia’s first election for a non-voting Congressional delegate. Frank Kameny was found dead in his Washington home on October 11, 2011 (National Coming Out Day). His death was due to arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. In front of his headstone lays a marker inscribed with the slogan “Gay is Good”. Kameny coined that slogan, and in a 2009 AP interview said about coining it, “If I am remembered for anything I hope it will be that.”
1973 – For the second time in two years, the New York City Council rejects a proposed gay rights ordinance for the city.
1990, UK – OutRage! establishes the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights to address legal attacks against the GLBT community. OutRage! was a British LGBT rights group lasting for 21 years, 1990 until 2011. It described itself as “a broad based group of queers committed to radical, non-violent direct action and civil disobedience” and was formed to advocate that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have the same rights as heterosexual people, to end homophobia and anti-LGBT violence and to affirm the right of queer people to their “sexual freedom, choice and self-determination”.
1999 – In Baker v. Vermont, the Vermont Supreme Court orders the state legislature to devise a law to give same-sex couples identical rights to married couples. Baker v. Vermont, 744 A.2d 864 (Vt. 1999), was a lawsuit decided by Vermont Supreme Court on December 20, 1999. It was one of the first judicial affirmations of the right of same-sex couples to treatment equivalent to that afforded different-sex couples. The decision held that the state’s prohibition on same-sex marriage denied rights granted by the Vermont Constitution. The court ordered the Vermont legislature to either allow same-sex marriages or implement an alternative legal mechanism according similar rights to same-sex couples.
2013 – U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby strikes down Utah’s gay marriage ban; more than 1,000 same-sex couples marry over the next two weeks. With Utah appealing, the Supreme Court on Jan. 6 stops further marriages from taking place.
2017, Germany – Wolfgang Leopold Lauinger (1918 – December 20, 2017) dies at the age of 99. He was a German gay activist. Other German gay activists paid their respects to Lauinger who was imprisoned both by the Nazis and by the postwar West German government. “We bow before a wonderful person, who fought to the end for the rehabilitation of persecuted gay people and the compensation for all consequences of imprisonment and conviction as a result of § 175,” the Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation tweeted. Lauinger is best known for his campaign against Paragraph 175, the German law that outlawed male homosexuality. Passed in 1871, the Nazis in 1935 tightened up enforcement of Paragraph 175 by conducting more arrests and increasing the maximum jail sentence for male homosexuality to five years. Around 50,000 people were convicted between 1933 and 1945 under the law, and it sent between 5000 and 10,000 gay and bi men to concentration camps.
Stand up, speak out, share your story!
(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at facebook.com/quistapp, Back2Stonewall.com, #LavenderEffect, DataLounge.com, #ArronsGayInfo, #AllThingsQueer, #RSLevinson, #AmaraDasWilhelm, out.com, #SafeSchoolsCoalition, 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!)