Musings of an Aging Lesbian

Yesterday was such a good day. We went to the grocery store to buy turkeys and ham for the LGBT food bank, exchanged some theater tickets, went to physical therapy, then visited a couple of dear friends who are the only lesbians in an assisted living facility. I’ve also been working on my play entitled Hunted which depicts life at the University of Florida during the 1950s gay witch hunts. I arrived at UF at the end of that horrible time. By 1965 when I got there, the last of the hunts were over and the report published, but people were still reeling from the fallout. The author Rita Mae Brown had lived in my residence hall and was kicked out the year before I arrived because she was a lesbian. I heard that on my first day. It served to keep me in the closet for another 15 years.

 Gratitude Day 22

 Today I went to my first physical therapy session. I have degenerative discs that causes some pain whenever I stand from a sitting or lying down position. I’m excited about the therapy. I think it’s going to work. Whether it does or not, I’m great for my body and my health.

I invite you to add that for which you are grateful today.

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!


 1869, France – French gay author and the 1947 Nobel Prize winner for literature Andre Gide (22 November 1869 – 19 February 1951) is born. He was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947 “for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight.” Gide’s career ranged from its beginnings in the symbolist movement, to the advent of anticolonialism between the two World Wars. In his journal, Gide distinguishes between adult-attracted “sodomites” and boy-loving “pederasts”, categorizing himself as the latter.

1913, UK– British gay composer, conductor and pianist Benjamin Britten (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) is born. He was an English composer, conductor and pianist and a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music,  orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

1935 – Mary Alfreda Smith was born (November 22, 1935). Reverend Elder Freda Smith is an American political and LGBT activist, working in the areas of women’s and minority rights. She worked on the Robert F Kennedy election campaign in 1968, and helped overturn laws that criminalized homosexual activity in California. In 1972 she became the first ordained clergywoman of the Metropolitan Community Church.

1943 – Former world number one professional tennis player Billie Jean King (November 22, 1943) is born. She  won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. King won the singles title at the inaugural WTA Tour Championships. King often represented the United States in the Federation Cup and the Wightman Cup. She was a member of the victorious United States team in seven Federation Cups and nine Wightman Cups. For three years, King was the United States’ captain in the Federation Cup. King is an advocate for gender equality and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice. In 1968, King realized that she was attracted to women, and in 1971, began an intimate relationship with her secretary, Marilyn Barnett (born Marilyn Kathryn McRae on January 28, 1948). King acknowledged the relationship when it became public in a May 1981 ‘palimony‘ lawsuit filed by Barnett, making King the first prominent professional female athlete to come out as a lesbian.

1963 – President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.

1980 – Mae West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) dies in Los Anegels at the age of 88. Rumors that she was really a man were finally proven false. She was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades.

2004, UK – Lord Peter Mandelson (born 21 October 1953) is the first openly gay Commissioner of the European Union. He is a British Labour politician, president of international think tank Policy Network and Chairman of strategic advisory firm Global Counsel. Reinaldo Avila da Silva (born September 1972, a Brazilian-British translator was his partner from 1998 to 2007 when “Mandy” met Marco Coretti, owner of a chic boutique close to the Spanish Steps in Rome.

2011 – An independent arbiter rules that Baltimore County, Maryland must extend spousal benefits to the same-sex spouses of two police officers who legally married in another state.

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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