Musings of an Aging Lesbian

It’s a drizzly gray day in Palm Springs, always an unusual experience. I’ve decided not to leave the house today. I’ll do my yoga (which is my physical therapy for my degenerating discs) in house while MSNBC keeps me informed, do my 10,000 steps on my treadmill while watching Olivia on Law and Order SVU save women, then sit in my living room and work on my play Hunted. I’m down to 130 pounds and feel great! Who says aging is tough??? Today I’m finding it glorious! I’m healthy, active, and creative, and deeply grateful for this moment.

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!


1947 – Yolanda Retter (December 4, 1947 – August 18, 2007) was an American lesbian librarian, archivist, scholar, and activist in Los Angeles. Retter attended Pitzer College in Claremont, California and graduated in 1970 with a degree in sociology. In the 1980s she completed masters degrees in library science (1983) and social work (1987) from the University of California, Los Angeles and in 1996 she received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Before becoming a librarian and archivist, Retter held a variety of jobs, some as a volunteer. She worked in prison and parole programs, as a director of a rape hotline, and original publisher of the Los Angeles Women’s Yellow Pages. She then became the founding archivist of the Lesbian Legacy Collection at the ONE Archives and volunteered at the June Mazer Lesbian Archives. From 2003 to the time of her death, Retter served as the head librarian and archivist of the Chicano Studies Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. She died after a short battle with cancer surrounded by women she chose, including her partner of thirteen years Leslie Golden Stampler.

1976, Canada – In Vancouver, Canadian University Press approves a national boycott of CBC for refusing to air public service announcement for a Halifax gay group. 

1981 – James Webber is the first known victim of serial killer David Bullock. Most of Bullock’s victims were men he brought home for sex.

1998 – A vigil is held for Rita Hester (30 November 1963 – 28 November 1998), an African American transgender woman, who was slain in Allston, Massachusetts on November 28th. The vigil from her death goes on to become the Transgender Day of Remembrance. In response to her murder, an outpouring of grief and anger led to a candlelight vigil held the following Friday (December 4) in which about 250 people participated. The community struggle to see Rita’s life and identity covered respectfully by local papers, including the Boston Herald and Bay Windows, was chronicled by Nancy Nangeroni. Her death also inspired the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and the Transgender Day of Remembrance which Gwendolyn Ann Smith founded in 1999.

2013 – Openly gay Xavier Bettel (born 3 March 1973) is sworn in as Luxembourg’s Prime Minister. He is a Luxembourgish politician and lawyer, serving as the 24th Prime Minister of Luxembourg since 4 December 2013 after succeeding Jean-Claude Juncker. He has previously served as Mayor of Luxembourg City, member of the Chamber of Deputies and member of the Luxembourg City communal council. Bettel is a member of the Democratic Party. Bettel is Luxembourg’s first openly gay Prime Minister and, worldwide, the third openly gay head of government following Iceland’s Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (born 4 October 1942) (2009–2013) and Belgium’s Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo (born 18 July 1951) (2011–2014). As of 2017, he is one of three openly gay world leaders in office, the others being Leo Varadkar (born 18 January 1979), the Taoiseach of Ireland; and Ana Brnabić (born 28 September 1975), the Prime Minister of Serbia. Bettel has been in a partnership with Gauthier Destenay since March 2010. They married on 15 May 2015; same-sex marriage law reforms had come into effect on 1 January 2015, after passing in June 2014.

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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