Musings of an Aging Lesbian

Only two days left of 2019. We’re preparing the house for guests. Two are arriving tomorrow and spending the night. Others are coming on Wednesday to watch football and enjoy each other’s company. I look forward to 2020 with anticipation and joy, and yet the political climate lays a thin layer of trepidation. But for today, it’s all good…

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!


1944 – The New York Times reviews the play “Trio” about a relationship between a female college teacher and a young woman. “Trio” was originally scheduled to open on November 8, 1944 at the Cort Theater, however theater owner Lee Shubert refused to rent it based on the play’s themes of an older woman’s feelings for a girl. Elmer Rice, lease-holder of the Belasco Theatre, allowed the production to open there, where it was still a subject of controversy. It was finally ordered to close by New York License Commissioner Paul Moss who refused to renew the Belasco’s license if “Trio” remained open; it closed on February 24, 1945.

1954 – Joseph F. Beam (December 30, 1954 – December 27, 1988) was an African-American gay rights activist and author who worked to foster greater acceptance of gay life in the black community by relating the gay experience with the struggle for civil rights in the United States.  He was editor of “In the Life: A Black Gay Anthology.” Giovanni’s Room in the Center City District in Philadelphia was one of the main bookstores and contact points for lesbians and gays in the 1970s and 1980s. Beam became well acquainted with local and national gay figures and institutions while employed there in the early 1980s. His articles and short stories began appearing around the same time in numerous gay newspapers and magazines, including Au Courant, Blackheart, Changing Men, Gay Community News, Philadelphia Gay News, The Advocate, New York Native, Body Politic and the Windy City Times. The Lesbian and Gay Press Association awarded him a certificate for outstanding achievement by a minority journalist in 1984. The following year, he was hired as a consultant by the Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the American Friends Service Committee. He joined the Executive Committee of the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays in 1985, and became the editor of their new journal Black/Out.  Inspired by the humanism of the black feminist and lesbian movement, he saw his work as part of a broad effort to correct and redefine the reality of race, sex, class and gender in the United States. Through his writings, he sought to alleviate the alienation of black homosexuals and help create a community of their own. In the Life was published by Allyson Press in 1986.

1965-The New York Post runs an article about illegal tactics used by police to harass gays.

1977, Canada – Toronto police take action against The Body Politic, the country’s leading gay and lesbian newspaper, seizing materials and charging the publication with “using the mails to distribute immoral, indecent, and scurrilous material.” It would be six years before they were acquitted.

1998 – New Ways Ministries, a Catholic group, took out a full-page ad in the New York Times calling for an end to anti-gay violence.

2008 – The ACLU sues the state of Arkansas, arguing that the state’s ban on same-sex adoptions is unconstitutional.

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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