Las Sergas de Esplandin (The Adventures of Esplandin) is a novel written by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo (1450-1505), published in July, 1510. Unbeknownst to most people, the state of California was named after Calafia, a fictional Black queen who ruled over a mythic all-female (perhaps lesbian) island of Black women just off the coast of Asia. She used an army of flying griffins to fight Christians at Constantinople and has become an interesting yet little known literary figure. In 1530, when Spanish conquistador Herman Cortes arrived on what is now known as Baja California on Mexico’s west coast, he named the land California, after Calafia’s island in de Montalvo’s book.
English politician Samuel Pepys writes in his diary of his displeasure at how common sodomy had become in the country’s military.
Julie d’Aubigny (1670/1673-1707), better known as Mademoiselle Maupin or La Maupin, was a word-slinger, opera singer, and larger-than-life bisexual 17th-century celebrity opera singer. Little is known about her life; her tumultuous career and flamboyant lifestyle were the subject of gossip, rumor, and colorful stories in her own time, and inspired numerous fictional and semi-fictional portrayals afterwards. Gautier loosely based the title character, Madeleine de Maupin, of his novel Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835) on her. The celebration of sensual love, regardless of gender, was radical, and the book was banned by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and authorities elsewhere. Mademoiselle Maupin retired from the opera in 1705 and took refuge in a convent, probably in Provence, where she is believed to have died on July 1, 1707, at the age of 33.
The Buggery Act is repealed then reenacted, criminalizing sodomy.
Farley Granger (July 1, 1925 – March 27, 2011) is born. He was an American actor best known for his two collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock. In 2007, Granger published the memoir Include Me Out, co-written with domestic partner Robert Calhoun (November 24, 1930 – May 24, 2008). In the book, named after one of Goldwyn’s famous malapropisms, he freely discusses his career and personal life.
The lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness by the British author Radclyffe Hall (August 12, 1880 – October 7, 1943) was published on this date in the United States and sold an initial 20,000 copies. It follows the life of Stephen Gordon, an Englishwoman from an upper-class family whose “sexual inversion” (homosexuality) is apparent from an early age. She finds love with Mary Llewellyn whom she meets while serving as an ambulance driver in World War I, but their happiness together is marred by social isolation and rejection, which Hall depicts as typically suffered by “inverts” with predictably debilitating effects. The novel portrays inversion as a natural, God-given state and makes an explicit plea: “Give us also the right to our existence.” In 1915, Hall fell in love with Una Troubridge (1887-1963), a sculptor with whom she lived at 37 Holland Street, Kensington, London. The relationship would last until Hall’s death, though in 1934 Hall fell in love with Russian Evguenia Souline and embarked upon a long-term affair with her which Troubridge painfully tolerated.
Hollywood makes adherence to the Hays Code mandatory. It was named after for Will H. Hays who was the president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) from 1922 to 1945. Among its provisions: “Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationships are the accepted or common thing,” and “Sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden on the screen.” The Motion Picture Production Code was the set of industry moral guidelines that was applied to most United States motion pictures released by major studios from 1930 to 1968. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) adopted the Production Code in 1930 and began strictly enforcing it in 1934. The Production Code spelled out what was acceptable and what was unacceptable content for motion pictures produced for a public audience in the United States. Hays, who was Postmaster General under Warren G. Harding and former head of the Republican National Committee, served for 25 years as president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA).
Willem Arondeus (August 22, 1894 – July 1, 1943) dies. He was a Dutch artist and author who joined the Dutch anti-Nazi resistance movement during World War II. He participated in the bombing of the Amsterdam public records office to hinder the Nazi German effort to identify Dutch Jews. Arondeus was caught and executed by the Nazis soon after his arrest along with tailor Sjoerd Bakker and writer Johan Brouwer who also were gay and 10 others. Arondeus was openly gay before the war and defiantly asserted his sexuality before his execution. The last wish of Arondeus is that he be given a pink shirt. He declares: “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.”
U.S. Congress discontinues the military “Blue Discharges” with two new classifications: general and undesirable. The Army then changes its regulations so that gay and lesbian service members would not qualify for general discharges. The U.S. military had a long-standing policy that service members found to be homosexual or to have engaged in homosexual conduct were to be court-martialed for sodomy, imprisoned and dishonorably discharged. However, with the mobilization of troops following the United States’ entry into World War II, it became impractical to convene court-martial boards of commissioned officers so some commanders began issuing administrative discharges instead. Several waves of reform addressing the handling of homosexuals in the military resulted in a 1944 policy directive that called for homosexuals to be committed to military hospitals, examined by psychiatrists, and discharged under Regulation 615-360, Section 8 as “unfit for service.” It is unknown exactly how many gay and lesbian service members were given blue discharges under this regulation, but in 1946 the Army estimated that it had issued between 49,000 and 68,000 blue discharges, with approximately 5,000 of them issued to homosexuals. The Navy’s estimates of blue-discharge homosexuals was around 4,000. Blue discharges were discontinued as of July 1, 1947 when the two new headings of general and undesirable took their place. A general discharge was considered to be under honorable conditions-distinct from an “honorable discharge”and an undesirable discharge was under conditions other than honorable-distinct from a “dishonorable discharge.” At the same time, the Army changed its regulations to ensure that gay and lesbian service members would not qualify for general discharges. Those found guilty of engaging in homosexual conduct still received dishonorable discharges, while those identified as homosexuals but not to have committed any homosexual acts now received undesirable discharges.
Dr. Alan Hart (October 4, 1890 – July 1, 1962) dies. Historian Jonathan Ned Katz explains that Stanford University graduate Lucille Hart changed her name and lived as a man in order to practice medicine and marry the women he loved. The first was Inez Stark in 1918 and then, after their 1925 divorce, Edna Ruddick, to whom he stayed married until his death 37 years later.
In Norton v. Macy, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rules that the termination of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration employee for “immoral conduct” relating to his alleged homosexual conduct was unlawful.
The Task Force on Gay Liberation forms within the American Library Association. Now known as the GLBT Round Table, this organization is the oldest LGBT professional organization in the United States. On July 1st at the ALA Annual Conference in Detroit, MI, the Task Force on Gay Liberation meets for the first time. Israel Fishman serves as the first coordinator of the group. A social and “consciousness-raising event” was held with members of the Detroit Gay Liberation Front. Initial goals of the group included the creation of bibliographies, revision of library classification schemes and subject headings, building and improving access to collections, and fighting job discrimination. Barbara Gittings (July 31, 1932 – February 18, 2007) puts together a list of 37 gay-positive books, magazine articles, and pamphlets, the first version of a resource that would become known as A Gay Bibliography.
The founding meetings of the Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE) are held in Vancouver. It is the first Canadian group to talk about civil rights strategies.
The Furies Collective House at 219 11th St SE in Washington, D.C. was the operational center of the Furies, a lesbian feminist separatist collective from July 1, 1971 to 1973. The work done by the Furies here, including publication of their newspaper, The Furies, was instrumental in creating and shaping the ideas that continue to underpin lesbian feminism and lesbian separatism. The Furies, along with the Gay Liberation House and the Skyline Collective, was among Washington, D.C.’s best known communal living groups in the early 1970s. They were an example of lesbian feminism which emerged during the women’s movement of the late 1960s and 1970s. According to Rita Mae Brown in Rita Will, the members of the collective were Rita Mae Brown, Charlotte Bunch, Tasha Byrd Peterson, Ginny Berson, Sharon Deevey, Susan Hathaway, Lee Schwing, Helaine Harris, Coletta Reid, Jennifer Woodul, Nancy Myron and Joan E. Biren (J.E.B.) In 2016 the house at 219 11th St. SE was named as the first lesbian-related historic landmark in Washington, D.C.
The Parliament rescinds laws against sex between consenting adults but adds legislation penalizing individuals who make public statements or join organizations that favor homosexuality. Although the new legislation is used to harass lesbians and gay men and, later, to prevent the import of gay and lesbian pornography, including safer sex literature, no individuals or organizations are successfully prosecuted under the laws.
The United Kingdom’s first Gay Pride March draws about 2,000 gay men and lesbians to the center of London.
Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern endorses gay rights, the first U.S. presidential candidate in history to do so; party stalwarts denounce him.
Lesbian activists at the first United Nations World Conference on Women come to the attention of the world press when Pedro Gringoire attacks their efforts to make lesbian rights part of the conference agenda in an essay published in Excelsior, the country’s leading newspaper. Gringoire calls lesbianism a “pathological irregularity,” a “sexual aberration,” and a “severe illness.” Lesbian activists score gains in visibility as a result but fail to elicit an official response to their demands at the conference.
California and Washington decriminalize private consensual adult homosexual acts. Indiana does so the following year.
A gay rights group called Gay American Indians is launched in San Francisco by Randy Burns and Barbara May Cameron. It was initially launched as a safe place to socialize and share. It was the first gay American Indian liberation organization.
Blue Boy magazine debuts. It was a gay pornographic/lifestyle magazine with pictures of men in various states of undress from 1974 to 2007. It was published by Donald N. Embinder, a former advertising representative for After Dark, an arts magazine with a substantial gay readership. Embinder first used the nom de plume Don Westbrook but soon assumed his real name on the masthead.
Haaz Sleiman (born July 1, 1976) is a Lebanese-American television and film actor. He most notably played the role of Tarek in the 2007 film The Visitor and the role of Jesus in the American TV mini-series Killing Jesus, in addition to a number of American TV series. On August 22, 2017 Sleiman came out as gay via a Facebook video.
The Susan B. Anthony dollar makes its debut. While there were many complaints about the coin, it was mostly because it was nearly the same size as a quarter, not that it was the first U.S. coin to feature the likeness of a lesbian. Susan Brownell Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was an American social reformer and women’s rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement. Born into a Quaker family committed to social equality, she collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. In 1856, she became the New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1851, she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who became her lifelong friend and co-worker in social reform activities, primarily in the field of women’s rights. In 1852, they founded the New York Women’s State Temperance Society after Anthony was prevented from speaking at a temperance conference because she was female. In 1863, they founded the Women’s Loyal National League which conducted the largest petition drive in United States history up to that time, collecting nearly 400,000 signatures in support of the abolition of slavery. In 1866, they initiated the American Equal Rights Association which campaigned for equal rights for both women and African Americans. The Nineteenth Amendment, which guaranteed the right of women to vote, was popularly known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. Historian Lillian Faderman (July 18, 1940) suggests that Susan B. Anthony may have had relationships with Anna Dickinson, Rachel Avery and Emily Gross at different times in her life. Her niece Lucy Anthony was a life partner of suffrage leader and Methodist minister Anna Howard Shaw.
Renowned science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke (December 16, 1917 – March 19, 2008) comes very close to coming out in an interview published in Playboy magazine. When Clarke was asked if he’s had bisexual experiences, he responded, “Of course! Who hasn’t?” He is perhaps most famous for being co-writer of the screenplay for the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, widely considered to be one of the most influential films of all time.
President Reagan nominates openly homophobic Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court. The nomination is rejected by the U.S. Senate for a wide variety of reasons.
Professional body builder Bob Paris (December 14, 1959) comes out in an interview in Ironman magazine. He is an American writer, actor, public speaker, civil rights activist and former professional bodybuilder. Paris was the 1983 NPC American National and IFBB World Bodybuilding Champion Mr. Universe. He was the world’s first male professional athlete, in any sport, to come out in the media while still an active competitor in his sport. The same year, Paris appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show discussing marriage and being gay. Oprah asked Paris, “Bob, why not just stay in the closet?” Paris explained how “you fall in love” and that it doesn’t feel right to hide it. Paris and his former boyfriend at the time, Rod Jackson, became symbols for gay marriage and advocated for gay rights. Paris’s career ended up suffering because he came out; he claims his life was even threatened through mail and by phone. Paris lost about 80% of his bookings and endorsements for bodybuilding. Today, Paris lives with his spouse Brian LeFurgey on an island near Vancouver, British Columbia. Together since 1996, Bob and Brian were legally married in British Columbia after the province equalized the marriage laws in 2003.
Vermont begins performing civil unions for same-sex couples. Still not equivalent to marriages (and not recognized by the federal government or by other states or countries), these are nonetheless the first relationships in the U.S. to receive this level of legal recognition.
Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist’s (July 24, 1956) campaign ads were carefully worded to include his support of “traditional marriage.” Media stories throughout the campaign claimed that Crist is gay. He is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 13th congressional district. He had previously served as the 44th Governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011. In January 2014, Crist apologized for his support for the 2008 same-sex marriage ban and for the same-sex adoption ban, telling an Orlando LGBT publication that “I’m sorry I did that. It was a mistake. I was wrong. Please forgive me. On May 9, 2013, Crist announced that he supports same-sex marriage; “I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here.” In both 2006 and 2008, Crist announced his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment. By 2010, he had endorsed adoption rights for gay couples.
Registered partnerships go into effect.
Denmark allows same sex couples to apply jointly for adoptions.
LGBT Free Zone stickers distributed by the Gazeta Polska newspaper in Poland. The Warsaw district court ordered that distribution of LGBT-free zone stickers should halt pending the resolution of a court case. However, Gazeta Polska’s editor dismissed the ruling saying it was “fake news” and censorship, and that the paper would continue distributing the stickers. Gazeta continued distribution of the stickers but modified the decal to read “LGBT ideology-Free Zone.”
Actor Charles Laughton is born in Scaborough, England. Laughton (July 1, 1899 – December 15, 1962) was an English stage and film character actor, director, producer and screenwriter. Not blessed with matinee idol looks, Laughton built a brilliant career as a character actor and still earned his fair share of male lovers. His wife Elsa Lanchester (October 28, 1902 – December 26, 1986) was a British-born American actress with a long career in theatre, film and television. Elsa knew all about Charles’ boys. In her biography of Laughton she was candid and loving in her descriptions of his affairs.
Sylvia Rivera (July 2, 1951 – February 19, 2002) was an American gay liberation and transgender activist and self-identified drag queen. She was a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. With her close friend Marsha P. Johnson (August 24, 1945 – July 6, 1992), Rivera co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens and trans women of color. Rivera’s gender identity was complex and varied throughout her life. In 1971 she spoke of herself as a “half sister.” In her essay Transvestites: Your Half Sisters and Half Brothers of the Revolution, she specifically claims her use of the word “transvestite” as only applying to the gay community: “Transvestites are homosexual men and women who dress in clothes of the opposite sex.” People now want to call me a lesbian because I’m with Julia, and I say, “No. I’m just me. I’m not a lesbian.” I’m tired of being labeled. I don’t even like the label transgender. I’m tired of living with labels. I just want to be who I am. I am Sylvia Rivera. Ray Rivera left home at the age of 10 to become Sylvia. And that’s who I am.”
The State Department fires 381 gay and lesbian employees. In the early 1950s, the entire country was in the grips of the Red Scare as Wisconsin Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy was conducting his witch hunts. One of his main platforms was the Senate’s Subcommittee on the Investigation of Loyalty of State Department Employees. While McCarthy’s main targets were imaginary Communists in the State Department, gay employees were also seen as “subversives” in need of rooting out. Both homosexuals and Communist Party members were seen as subversive elements in American society who shared the same ideals of antitheism, rejection of the middle-class morality, and lack of conformity. In the eyes of the government, they were seen as scheming and manipulative and, most importantly, would put their own agendas above that of the general population. McCarthy also as-sociated homosexuality and communism as “threats to the ‘American way of life’.” Homosexuality was directly linked to security concerns, and more government employees were dismissed because of their homosexual sexual orientation than because they were left-leaning or communist. George Chauncey noted that, “The specter of the invisible homosexual, like that of the invisible communist, haunted Cold War America,” and homosexuality (and by implication homosexuals themselves) were constantly referred to not only as a disease, but also as an invasion, like the perceived danger of communism and subversives. Among the more high-profile targets was Samuel Reber III (July 15, 1903 – December 25, 1971) a twenty-seven year career diplomat who announced his retirement in May of 1953 after McCarthy charged that he was a security risk which was a barely-concealed code for homosexual. By then, President Dwight D. Eisenhower had already responded to McCarthy’s witch hunt by signing an executive order that mandated the firing of all federal employees who were deemed guilty of “sexual perversion,” whether proven or not. Eisenhower also announced a re-organization of the State Department. Rep. Charles B Brownson, an Indiana Republican with his own lesser-known witch hunt underway in the House Government Operations Committee, asked the State Department for a progress report in rooting out homosexuals. On July 2, 1953, the State Department’s chief security officer R.W. Scott McLeod revealed that 351 homosexuals and 150 other “security risks” had been fired between 1950 and 1953.
The Fifth Biennial Convention of the Lutheran Church in America expresses its opposition to discrimination and oppression of gay men and lesbians.
Figure skater Johnny Weir (July 2, 1984) is born. Johnny an American figure skater, fashion designer, and television commentator. He is a two-time Olympian, the 2008 World bronze medalist, a two-time Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, the 2001 World Junior Champion, and a three-time U.S. national champion (2004-2006). Weir is openly gay. In 2011, Weir married Victor Voronov (b. 1984), a Georgetown Law graduate of Russian Jewish descent, in a civil ceremony on New Year’s Eve in New York City. He is also known for his sports commentary with Tara Lipinski, as well as his work in LGBTQ activism.
Internal Revenue Service employees who are members of the National Treasury Employee’s Union receive a new contract that includes protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Same-sex sex acts are decriminalized in India, citing that the existing laws violate fundamental rights to personal liberty. The Delhi High Court rules that the existing laws violate fundamental rights to personal liberty (Article 21 of the Indian Constitution) and equality (Article 14) and prohibition of discrimination (Article 15). Before the overturning of this 148-year-old law, so-called homosexual acts were punished with a ten-year prison sentence.
Deborah Sampson Gannett (December 17, 1760 – April 29, 1827) was a woman who disguised herself as a man in order to serve in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. She was one of a small number of women with a documented record of military combat experience in that war. She served 17 months in the army under the name Robert Shirtliff of Uxbridge, Massachusetts. During her first battle, on July 3, 1782, out-side Tarrytown, New York, she took two musket balls in her thigh and a cut on her forehead. She begged her fellow soldiers to let her die and not take her to a doctor, but a soldier put her on his horse and took her to a hospital. The doctors treated her head wound, but she left the hospital before they could attend to her leg. Fearful that her identity would be discovered, she removed one of the balls herself with a penknife and sewing needle, but the other one was too deep for her to reach. Her leg never fully healed. On April 1, 1783, she was reassigned to new duties, and spent seven months serving as a waiter to General John Paterson. On this day, Sampson was wounded in 1782, and was honorably discharged at West Point, New York in 1783. During the summer of 1783, Sampson became ill in Philadelphia and was cared for by Doctor Barnabas Binney (1751-1787). He removed her clothes to treat her and discovered the cloth she used to bind her breasts. Without revealing his discovery to army authorities, he took her to his house, where his wife, daughters, and a nurse took care of her. She was discharged at West Point, New York, on October 25, 1783, after a year and a half of service. In January 1792, Sampson petitioned the Massachusetts State Legislature for pay which the army had withheld from her because she was a woman. The legislature granted her petition and Governor John Hancock signed it. The legislature awarded her 34 pounds plus interest back to her discharge in 1783. An Official Record of Deborah Gannet’s service as ‘Robert Shirtliff” from May 20, 1782 to Oct 25, 1783 appears in the “Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War” series. During World War II the Liberty Ship S.S. Deborah Gannett (2620) was named in her honor. It was laid down March 10, 1944, launched April 10, 1944 and scrapped in 1962. As of 2001, the town flag of Plympton incorporates Sampson as the Official Heroine of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Meryl Streep named Deborah Sampson as one of the women who made history in her speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention on July 26, 2016.
In a change of policy, the U.S. Civil Service Commission decides to consider applications by lesbians and gay men on a case-by-case basis. Previously, homosexuality was grounds for automatic disqualification.
“Rare Cancer Seen in Homosexuals” is the first story in The New York Times about the mysterious disease that will later be named AIDS.
The CDC initially refers to AIDS as GRID – Gay Related Immune Deficiency Disorder.
Andy Lippincott, a fictional character in the cartoon strip Doonesbury, was hospitalized with AIDS. The character first appears in January 1976, in a law library. Joanie Caucus becomes attracted to him so Lippincott confesses he is gay. Joanie is heart-broken and takes some time to recover. Lippincott contributes position papers to Virginia Slade’s failed run for Congress in 1976. He disappears from the strip for a few years after this storyline. In 1982, the character reappears as an organizer for the Bay Area Gay Alliance and contributes to the congressional re-election of Lacey Davenport. In 1989 he returns to the strip again when he is diagnosed with AIDS. Over the course of the next year, Lippincott’s battles with the disease, and eventual death from it, helped bring the AIDS crisis into popular culture. Ultimately, he is shown dying to the sound of the Beach Boys’ song Wouldn’t It Be Nice. This storyline led to a Pulitzer Prize nomination for Garry Trudeau, but three newspapers of the 900 carrying the strip refused to publish it as being in bad taste. Andy Lippincott may be the only fictional character with a panel on the AIDS quilt and hangs in The NAMES Project Foundation’s offices in Atlanta though it was not actually sewn into a block of The AIDS Memorial Quilt.
1992, Buenos Aires
An estimated 300 lesbians and gay men march in Argentina’s first-ever Pride Celebration. While same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults in private had been legal since 1887, there were no civil rights laws de-signed to protect LGBT people, and public opinion tended to look down upon LGBT people. While not given official recognition until 1992, the Comunidad Homosexual Argentina publicly campaigned for the human rights of LGBT people. Since 1987 the rights of gay and bisexual women have been defended by Cuadernos de Existencia Lesbiana. Significant legal and social progress began to be seen in the 1990s.
Arthur “JR” Warren, Jr. (1974 – July 3, 2000) is murdered. Warren, 26, who was African American and gay, was beaten and then run over by a car. One of the two teens who killed him had been sexually involved with him and claimed he felt humiliated when rumors of their relationship began to spread. Warren lived with learning disabilities and a birth defect that caused him to be born with several fingers missing on one hand. He was widely regarded in his community as a “soft spoken” young man. At 16, he came out to his mother and the minister at his church and found acceptance and support with both. After his death, his mother Brenda Warren addressed a hate-crimes rally in Washington, D.C. and lobbied for the inclusion of sexual orientation in West Virginia’s hate crimes law. Arthur Warren’s funeral was held on July 8, 2000, at his family’s church, and was attended by hundreds of mourners. His parents insisted that the coffin be open for viewing. “We want people to see what they did to my son,” said Brenda Warren. The Warrens later told CNN during an interview that they hoped the suspects would be tried as adults and the murder treated as a hate crime.
The first gay hotel, the Axel, opens in Barcelona. The Axel company created a cosmopolitan and tolerant environment where atmosphere, diversity and respect are valued. The construction of Axel Hotel Barcelona, opened in 2003, was the beginning of a project that is now a chain. In 2007, Axel opened its first hotel in South America, the Axel Hotel Buenos Aires, and two years later, in 2009, Axel Hotel Berlin.
Same-sex marriage is legalized. In 2004, the nation’s newly elected Socialist Party (PSOE) Government, led by Prime Minister JoseLuis Rodriguez Zapatero, begins a campaign for its legalization, including the right of adoption by same-sex couples. The law took effect on this day, making Spain the third country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry across the entire country, after the Netherlands and Belgium, and 17 days ahead of the right being extended across all of Canada. The U.S. was 17th.
Composer Stephen Foster (July 4, 1826 – January 13, 1864), born in Pittsburgh and known as “the father of American music,” was famous for his parlor and minstrel music. Foster wrote over 200 songs; among his best-known are Oh! Susanna, Camptown Races, Swanee River, My Old Kentucky Home, and more. He likely abandoned his wife for fellow composer George Cooper. There are many biographers who have published works on the life of Stephen Foster but details differ widely. Foster wrote very little biographical information himself. His brother destroyed much of the information about Stephen that he judged to reflect negatively upon the family.
First edition of Walt Whitman’s (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) Leaves of Grass is published. It’s considered the clearest expression of the author’s homosexual desires.
The song America the Beautiful is published. Its author, Katharine Lee Bates (August 12, 1859 – March 28, 1929) was a professor at Wellesley College who lived with Katharine Coman (November 23, 1857 – January 11, 1915), as ‘one soul together.’ Coman was a history and political economy teacher and founder of the Wellesley College School Economics department. The pair lived together for twenty-five years until Coman’s death in 1915.
Organized by ECHO, the East Coast Homophile Organizations, demonstrators picket at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Picketers returned each year through 1969 for what came to be known as the Annual Reminder. It was the beginning a new era in Philadelphia LGBT culture as a presence in the community. A small group of conservatively dressed lesbians and gay men picket Independence Hall in in one of the first public demonstrations for gay rights. Among those marching is Barbara Gittings (July 31, 1932 – February 18, 2007). The picket is to call public attention to the lack of civil rights for LGBT people. The gatherings continue annually for five years. The Daughters of Bilitis and Mattachine Society members participate in the fifth and final picket in 1969.
The General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association becomes the first mainstream religious group in the US to recognize publicly the existence of gay, lesbian, and bisexual clergy and laity among its members and to demand “an end to all discrimination against homosexuals.”
The Seattle Lesbian Separatist Group (later the Gorgons) issues The Amazon Analysis, a manifesto and handbook of lesbian separatism. The paper’s nearly 100 mimeographed pages are passed among lesbians across the country.
In Winnipeg, the New Democratic Party Gay Caucus is formed at the NDP national convention.
Dykes on Bikes is founded by Soni Wolf as a group of lesbians on motorcycles who come together to lead the San Francisco Pride Parade. In 1976 a small group of 20 – 25 women motorcyclists gathered at the head of the San Francisco Pride Parade and, unbeknownst to them, a tradition began. Soni coined the phrase “Dykes on Bikes.” The San Francisco Chronicle picked it up and ran with it. Chapters of the club have been leading Pride Parades around the world ever since.
The United States Embassy in Moscow defied U.S. President anti-gay Donald Trump by hanging a rainbow LGBT PRIDE flag on its building after Trump ordered embassies around the world not to do so. Russian President Vladimir Putin mocked the flag, suggesting it reflected on the orientation of the diplomats. Putin also signed amendments to the constitution backed by way of a national vote that includes a clause on marriage being between a man and a woman, aimed at preventing legalization of gay unions. Putin then claimed that Russia does not discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation. In 2013 Putin signed into law, amid a storm of international condemnation, the prevention of ‘foisting’ LGBT information to children. The law has since been used as a pretext to ban gay pride events and jail LGBT activists in Russia.
Andrew George Scott (July 5, 1842 – January 20, 1880), also known as Captain Moonlite, is born. He was an Irish-born Australian bushranger and folk figure. He gathered a band of thieves together and became especially close to one James Nesbit. Nesbit was to die in a shoot-out after which Scott was imprisoned. While there he wrote letters that declared his undying love for Nesbit in terms that were extravagant and uncompromising.
Cecil Rhodes (July 5, 1853 – March 26, 190) is born in Hertfordshire, England. He was a British businessman, mining magnate and politician in South Africa who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. The owner of the Kimberley Diamond Mines, he was a multi-millionaire whose De Beers diamond company, formed in 1888, retains its prominence into the 21st century. Rhodes never married saying that he would not be a dutiful husband. Some writers and academics have suggested that Rhodes may have been homosexual and had relationships with Sir Leander Starr Jameson (9 February 1853 – 26 November 1917) and Henry Latham Curry (1863 – 1945). Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) was named for him. He also created the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford. While Rhodes is considered a hero, the true story is that he was a blatant racist who built his empire on “land grabs” and murders of thousands in Zimbabwe.
Jean Cocteau (July 5, 1889 – October 11, 1963) is born in Maisons-Lafitte, France. A giant in the arts, Cocteau was a poet, a novelist, a playwright, and a filmmaker. He is best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929), and the films The Blood of a Poet (1930), Les Parents Terribles (1948), Beauty and the Beast (1946) and Orpheus (1949). His affairs with the handsome young men of Paris is as legendary as his art. Cocteau’s longest-lasting relationships were with the French actors Jean Marais (11 December 1913 – 8 November 1998) and √Edouard Dermit, whom Cocteau formally adopted. Cocteau cast Marais in The Eternal Return (1943), Beauty and the Beast (1946), Ruy Blas (1947), and Orpheus (1949).
Hendrik “Hein” Vos (5 July 1903 – 23 April 1972) was a Dutch politician of the Labour Party (PvdA). Vos was the first known Dutch gay politician. This fact was an open secret in Dutch politics at that time. His life partner was the journalist and writer Aar van de Werfhorst (March 3, 1907-January 20, 1994).
Wayne Besen (born July 5, 1970) is an American gay rights advocate. He is a former investigative journalist for WABI-TV, a former spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, and the founder of Truth Wins Out. Besen came out to his parents before starting his Truth Wins Out organization. After coming out to his parents, they bought him an ex-gay DVD that could supposedly hypnotize people and turn them straight. It was that and the invitation by President George W. Bush of ex-gay leader Alan Chambers to the White House that led him to start Truth Wins Out. Besen has interviewed hundreds of former and current “ex-gays” and is an out-spoken critic of organizations such as Homosexuals Anonymous. Besen announced on his truthwinsout.org website that he married his boyfriend of five years Jamie Brundage on December 8, 2011 in the City Hall of Burlington, VT.
In Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, an hour-long Gay News and Views begins on a local station. It is the first regularly scheduled gay radio program in Canada.
The Quebec Human Rights Commission decides that Montreal Catholic School Commission’s refusal to rent facilities to a gay group is discriminatory. It is the first such finding by the Commission since the inclusion of “sexual orientation” in the provincial Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The national convention of the Liberal Party of Canada adopts a resolution to include sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Megan Rapinoe (July 5, 1985) is the first openly gay woman in the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Megan is an American professional soccer player who heads the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) as well as the United States national team. Named the Best FIFA Women’s Player in 2019, Rapinoe won gold with the national team at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Rapinoe co-captained the national team alongside Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan from 2018 to 2020. She previously played for the Chicago Red Stars, Philadelphia Independence, and MagicJack in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) as well as Olympique Lyon in France’s Division 1 Feminine. Her wife is basketball star Sue Bird (born October 16, 1980).
James H. Donovan was a New York state senator. On this day, he suggests that giving teens rosary beads would prevent the spread of AIDS more effectively than the distribution of condoms.
The Serbian parliament approves a law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Bruno Lenoir and Jean Diot, 18 and 20 years old, are caught having sex. They are strangled and burned in the Place de Greve by “seven wagons of brushwood, two hundred faggots (bundles of wood sticks), and straw.” This is the last execution in France for consensual sodomy. In October, 2014, a memorial plaque was unveiled the Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo to remember them.
Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) is born. Inspired by Mexican popular culture, she employed a native folk-art style to explore questions of identity, post-colonialism, gender, class, and race in Mexican society. Kahlo was bisexual and a polio survivor. She married Diego Rivera twice, had an affair with Leon Trotsky, and had affairs with several women as well. La Casa Azul, her home in Coyoacán was opened as a museum in 1958, and has become one of the most popular museums in Mexico City. In the United States, she became the first Hispanic woman to be honored with a U.S. postage stamp, in 2001, and in 2012 was inducted into the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display in Chicago that celebrates the LGBT history and people.
Leonard P. Matlovich (July 6, 1943 – June 22, 1988) is born. During three tours of duty in Viet Nam, he would earn, among other honors, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and an Air Force Commendation Medal. Sgt. Matlovich was discharged when he came out as gay. He died of AIDS in June 1988, at the age of 45. Matlovich was the first gay service member to purposely out himself to the military to fight their ban on gays, and perhaps the best-known gay man in America in the 1970s next to Harvey Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978). His fight to stay in the United States Air Force after coming out of the closet became a cause celebre around which the gay community rallied. His case resulted in articles in newspapers and magazines throughout the country, numerous television interviews, and a television movie on NBC. Matlovich was the first named openly gay person to appear on the cover of a U.S. newsmagazine – of the September 8, 1975 issue of Time magazine, making him a symbol for thousands of gay and lesbian service members and gay people generally. According to author Randy Shilts (August 8, 1951 – February 17, 1994), “It marked the first time the young gay movement had made the cover of a major newsweekly. To a movement still struggling for legitimacy, the event was a major turning point.” His tombstone, meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans, does not bear his name. It reads, “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a dis-charge for loving one.”
Glenn Christopher Scarpelli (born July 6, 1966) is an American former child actor and singer. He is best known for his role as Alex Handris from 1980 to 1983 on the sitcom One Day at a Time. Scarpelli came out as gay in adulthood. He resides in Arizona where he and his then-partner Jude Belanger established the Sedona Now Network, a community television station, in 2003. Scarpelli and Belanger were married in California in 2008 but filed for divorce in 2012.
Billy S. Jones, Darlene Garner, and Delores P. Berry co-found the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays in Washington, D.C. Bisexual and transgender people are included in bylaws, mission and outreach. The National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays (formerly The National Coalition of Black Gays) was the United States’ first national organization for African American and Third World gay rights. While many Washington, D.C.-based gay rights organizations opposed the 1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, NCBG’s support for the march smoothed the way for the event. The organization was to provide a national advocacy forum for African American gay men and lesbians at a time when no other organization existed to express their views. The organizers, also including Louis Hughes, Gil Gerald, Rev. Renee McCoy, and John Gee, were motivated by a belief that existing gay and lesbian organizations did not represent the views and experiences of African Americans. In 1984, NCBG added Lesbian to its name to become the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays. The organization’s headquarters moved to Detroit, Michigan briefly in the mid-1980s. By 1986, several key leaders left the organization, and eventually the group (without any official announcement) faded out of existence. By 1990, formal operations ended for the organization. As founding member A. Billy S. Jones described, “We just faded away. Some board members re-fused to acknowledge that it was time to say goodbye but folks just burned out and faded away.”
Some 50 activists in New York City attend the first public meeting of the Lesbian Avengers, a direct action group focused on issues vital to lesbian survival and visibility.” Dozens of other chapters quickly emerged world-wide, a few expanding their mission to include questions of gender, race, and class. The Lesbian Avengers was founded by Ana Maria Simo, Sarah Schulman ((born July 28, 1958), Maxine Wolfe, Anne-Christine D’Adesky, Marie Honan, and Anne Maguire, six longtime lesbian activists who were involved in a variety of LGBT groups from the Medusa’s Revenge lesbian theater to ACT-UP and ILGO (the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization). Lesbian Avenger Ann Northrop underlined the point. “We’re not going to be invisible anymore. We are going to be prominent and have power and be part of all decision making.” Her assumptions were largely proved in interviews with Avengers in the 1993 documentary film Lesbian Avengers Eat Fire, Too edited by Sue Friedrich and Janet Baus. Some members, though, joked they also joined to meet women.
Gabor Szetey (born January 6, 1968) is a Hungarian former politician and former Secretary of State for Human Resources in the Gyurcsany government, a role he held from July 2006 to April 2009. He was the first openly gay Hungarian government member. On this day, he publicly declares that he’s gay at the opening night of the Budapest LGBT film festival, making him the first out LGBT person in Hungarian government. He currently lives in Spain.
Tobias Billstrom (born 27 December 1973) is the first openly bisexual person elected to the Swedish government. He was the Minister of Migration Affairs and has been leader of the Moderate Party in the Swedish Riksdag since 2017. He served as Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy in the Swedish Government from 2006 to 2014 and has been a Member of the Swedish Riksdag for Malmo Municipality since 2002. Although several controversial statements regarding immigration and immigrants, Billstrom is the longest serving Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy in Sweden. From 2014 to 2017, he served as First Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag.
The first White House LGBT Innovation Summit takes place to discuss ways in which technology can help the LGBT community’s challenges. Speakers included Tim Gill (born October 18, 1953), founder of Quark publishing software; transgender activist and model Geena Rocero (born 1983 or 1984), founder of transgender rights group Gender Proud; and Leanne Pittsford (born 1980), founder of Lesbians Who Tech, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women and lesbians in technology. This was the first summit of its kind held at the White House. Nearly 180 people attend.
Fred Holland Day (July 8, 1864 – November 12, 1933) is born. He was an American photographer and publisher, and the first to advocate that photography should be considered a fine art. Day’s life and works had long been controversial since his photographic subjects were often nude young men. Since the 1990s, Day’s works have been included in major exhibitions by museum curators, notably in the solo Day retrospective at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 2000/2001 and similar shows at the Royal Photographic Society in England and the Fuller Museum of Art. Art historians are once again taking an interest in Day, and there are now significant academic texts on Day’s homoerotic portraiture, and its similarities to the work of Walter Pater and Thomas Eakins.
Philip Cortelyou Johnson (July 8, 1906 – January 25, 2005) was an American architect best known for his works of modern and postmodern architecture. Among his best known designs are his modernist Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, the postmodern 550 Madison Avenue in New York, designed for AT&T, and 190 South La Salle Street in Chicago. In 1978, he was awarded an American Institute of Architects Gold Medal and in 1979 the first Pritzker Architecture Prize. Johnson was gay. He came out publicly in 1993 and was regarded as “the best-known openly gay architect in America”.
Harry Hay (April 7, 1912 – October 24, 2002) and Rudi Gernreich (August 8, 1922 – April 21, 1985) meet on this day and later found the Mattachine Society, one of the earliest homophile organizations in the U.S. Hay was a prominent American gay rights activist, communist, labor advocate, and Native American civil rights campaigner. He was a founder of the Mattachine Society, the first sustained gay rights group in the United States, as well as the Radical Faeries, a loosely affiliated gay spiritual movement. Gernreich was an Austrian-born American fashion designer whose avant-garde clothing designs are generally regarded as the most innovative and dynamic fashion of the 1960s. He purposefully used fashion design as a social statement to advance sexual freedom, producing clothes that followed the natural form of the female body, freeing them from the constraints of high fashion.
A group of men set out to attack homosexuals in Central Park, injuring several with baseball bats, including former Olympic and world champion ice skater Dick Button (born July 18, 1929).
The Democratic Rules Committee states that it will not discriminate against homosexuals. At their National Convention on August 11-14, 1980, the Democrats become the first major political party to endorse a homosexual rights platform.
In Montreal the owner of Sauna David is found guilty of keeping a common bawdyhouse. The charges were the result of a police raid on bathhouse April 26, 1980.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro in Massachusetts becomes the first to rule that a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
Tab Hunter (July 11, 1931 – July 8, 2018) died. He was an American actor, pop singer, film producer, and author. He starred in more than 40 films and was a well-known Hollywood star of the 1950s and 1960s. Hunter’s autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star (2005), co-written with Eddie Muller, became a New York Times best-seller as did the paperback edition in 2007. Hunter had long-term relationships with actor Anthony Perkins (April 4, 1932 – September 12, 1992) and champion figure skater Ronnie Robertson (September 25, 1937 – February 4, 2000) before settling down with his partner of over 35 years, film producer Allan Glaser.
Jacopo Bonfadio (c. 1508 – July 1550) is tried and beheaded for sodomy, most likely because he published gossipy accounts of wealthy Genoese families. He was an Italian humanist and historian. Several humanists were tried for sodomy during this time as well, but Bonfadio is one of few to be executed.
Matthew Gregory Lewis (9 July 1775 – 16 May 1818) is born. He was an English novelist and dramatist, often referred to as “Monk” Lewis because of the success of his 1796 Gothic novel The Monk. Silly, stilted, and great fun to read, the genre was the high camp of its day. His most famous work was Ambrosio, The Monk written in 1795. Like most Gothic novels, it takes place in a Latin country. In this case in a monastery where Ambrosio, the head of the order, meets Matilda. She sneaks into his bed disguised as a man and quickly reveals she is a woman. After humping him into a frenzy he turns into a satyr and can’t get enough. In real life, Lewis was in love with a 14-year-old boy who brought him nothing but misery.
Dorothy Thompson (July 9, 1893 – January 30, 1961) is born in Lancaster, New York. Thompson, a newspaper writer and radio commentator, was expelled from Germany by Hitler because of her critical reports on Nazism. Thompson fell in love with Baroness Hatvany, better known as Christa Winsloe (23 December 1888 – 10 June 1944), the author of Madchen in Uniform about girls in love in a boarding school. Other lovers include Gertrude Franchot Tone (1876 – 1953), the feminist politician and mother of actor Franchot Tone. In 1939 she was recognized by Time magazine as the second most influential woman in America next to Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) and was featured on the cover. She was married three times, most famously to second husband and Nobel Prize in literature winner Sinclair Lewis. She is regarded by some as the “First Lady of American Journalism.”
Mathilde Krim (July 9, 1926 – January 15, 2018) is born. She was a medical researcher and the founding chair of the American Foundation for AIDS Research. She devoted her life to the fight against HIV/AIDS, in particular raising the public’s awareness of the devastating disease. In 1950, she married David Danon, an Israeli man she met at University of Geneva School of Medicine. Krim died at home in Kings Point, New York on January 15, 2018, aged 91.
Anthony D. Romero (July 9, 1965) is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He assumed the position in 2001 as the first Latino and openly gay man to do so.
The Mattachine Society of New York invites activists to gather in Greenwich Village for the first “gay power” meeting. Called the “Homosexual Liberation Meeting,” it was held at the Freedom House in Midtown Manhattan with over 100 attendees.
1986, New Zealand
The Parliament passes the Homosexual Law Reform Act, decriminalizing sex between men and establishing the same legal provisions for all sexual relations.
The Croatian parliament approves new law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in all areas.
Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz (1945 – July 9, 2018) was a Jewish-American essayist, poet, academic, and political activist against racism and for economic and social justice. She later added Kantrowitz to her name to honor her Jewish roots. Kaye/Kantrowitz was active in the Harlem Civil Rights Movement as a teenager. When she was 17, she worked with the Harlem Education Project. About this she said “It was my first experience with a mobilizing proud community and with the possibilities of collective action.” In 1990, she served as a founding director for Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), a progressive Jewish organization focused mostly on anti-racist work and issues of economic justice. Kaye/Kantrowitz served on the JFREJ board from 1995 to 2004. Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz taught the first women’s studies course at the University of California, Berkeley and at Hamilton College, Brooklyn College/CUNY, Vermont College, and Jewish studies, history and comparative literature at Queens College. Kaye/Kantrowitz died on July 9, 2018, of Parkinson’s disease at age 73.
Marcel Proust (July 10, 1871 – November 18, 1922) is born in Anteuil. The great French writer, perhaps the greatest of the first half of the 20th century, was rejected when he brought the manuscript for Remembrance of Things Past to a publisher. The rejection note reads “one has no idea what it’s all about.” His friend Andre Gide pointed out that Proust suffered a pronoun problem. Too many of his characters were women when they were intended to be men. Proust was homosexual, and his sexuality and relationships with men are often discussed by his biographers. His romantic relationship with composer Reynaldo Hahn (August 9, 1874 – January 28, 1947) and his infatuation with his chauffeur and secretary, Alfred Agostinelli, are well documented.
The book Road to Oz, the fifth in the Oz series by L. Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919) is published. In gay slang, a “friend of Dorothy” is a term for a gay man. While the precise origin of the term is unknown, some believe it is derived from this book. The book introduces readers to Polychrome who, upon meeting Dorothy’s traveling companions, ex-claims, “You have some queer friends, Dorothy,” and she replies, “The queerness doesn’t matter, so long as they’re friends.” More commonly, “friend of Dorothy” refers to the film The Wizard of Oz because Judy Garland, who starred as the main character Dorothy, is a gay icon. In the early 1980s, the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) was investigating homosexuality in Chicago. Having heard gay men refer to themselves as “friends of Dorothy,” the NIS went on a futile search for the elusive woman clearly at the center of a homosexual ring.
Jerry Herman (July 10, 1931- December 26, 2019) was an American composer and lyricist, known for his work in Broadway musical theater. He composed the scores for the hit Broadway musicals Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles. He has been nominated for the Tony Award five times, and won twice, for Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles. In 2009, Herman received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. He is a recipient of the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors. Herman was diagnosed with HIV in 1985. As noted in the Words and Music PBS documentary, “He is one of the fortunate ones who survived to see experimental drug therapies take hold and is still, as one of his lyrics proclaims, ‘alive and well and thriving’ over quarter of a century later. Herman resided in Miami Beach, Florida. He died at the age of 88.
American actor Nick Adams (July 10, 1931 – February 7, 1968) is born on this day. The blonde actor usually played neurotics or comic sidekick roles such as Andy Griffith’s friend Ben in No Time for Sergeants. Before he got into acting, Adams was a well-known Hollywood hustler. He was the roommate of James Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955). Adams tragically took his own life at age 36 in 1968. Adams’ highly publicized life and death at a young age, his friendships with cultural icons such as James Dean and Elvis Presley, and his reported drug consumption made his private life the subject of many reports and assertions by some writers who have claimed Adams may have been gay or bisexual.
“Pet Shop Boy” Neil Tennant (born 10 July 1954) is born. He is an English musician, singer, songwriter, music journalist and co-founder of the synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys which he formed with Chris Lowe in 1981. He also was a journalist for Smash Hits and was assistant editor for the magazine for a period in the mid-1980s. Tennant is openly gay, revealing his sexuality in a 1994 interview in Attitude magazine. He is also a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Actor/comedian Alec Mapa (born July 10, 1965) is born. He is a Fillipino-American actor, comedian and writer. He got his first professional break when he was cast to replace B. D. Wong for the role of Song Liling in the Broadway production of M. Butterfly. He gained recognition for roles such as Adam Benet in Half & Half, Suzuki St. Pierre on Ugly Betty and Vern on Desperate Housewives. Mapa recurred as Renzo on Switched at Birth. Mapa co-hosted the Logo network reality dating game show Transamerican Love Story with Calpernia Addams in 2008. In 2013, he debuted in his own one-man show, Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy, which was made into a concert film and premiered on Showtime in 2015. Mapa is gay and lends his support to various projects supporting the gay, lesbian, and Asian American communities. In 2008, Mapa legally married Jamison “Jamie” Hebert after dating since 2002. On the TV series The Gossip Queens, Mapa stated in the opening episode that he and his husband had adopted a 5-year-old boy.
The Austrian Parliament decriminalizes homosexual acts between consenting adults.
The national organization of Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) is disbanded. Local chapters are free to continue as independent entities. The Daughters of Bilitis was the first lesbian civil and political rights organization in the United States. The organization, founded in 1955 by Del Martin (May 5, 1921 – August 27, 2008) and Phyllis Lyon (born November 10, 1924) in San Francisco, was conceived as a social alternative to lesbian bars which were subject to raids and police harassment. As the DOB gained members, their focus shifted to providing support to women who were afraid to come out. The DOB educated them about their rights and about gay history. The historian Lillian Faderman (born July 18, 1940) declared, “It’s very establishment in the midst of witch-hunts and police harassment was an act of courage, since members always had to fear that they were under attack, not be-cause of what they did, but merely because of who they were.” The Daughters of Bilitis endured for 14 years, becoming an educational resource for lesbians, gay men, researchers and mental health professionals. Bilitis is the name given to a fictional lesbian contemporary of Sappho by the French poet Pierre Louosin his 1894 work The Songs of Bilitis in which Bilitis lives on the Isle of Lesbos alongside Sappho.
Jim Foster and Madeleine Davis are the first openly gay and lesbian people to address a major party presidential nominating convention, the Democratic National Convention, held in Miami Beach, Florida. They called upon the party to add a gay rights plank to the platform. The plank was defeated. Jim Foster (November 19, 1934 – October 31, 1990) was an American LGBT rights and Democratic activist. He became active in the early gay rights movement when he moved to San Francisco following his undesirable discharge from the Army in 1959 for being homosexual. Foster co-founded the Society for Individual Rights (SIR), an early homophile organization, in 1964. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein credits SIR and the gay vote with generating her margin of victory in her election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969. Madeleine Davis (born 1940) is a noted gay rights activist. In 1970 she was a founding member of the Mattachine Society of the Niagara Frontier, the first gay rights organization in Western New York. In 1972, Davis taught the first college course on lesbianism in the United States. She was also a founding member of HAG Theater, the first all-lesbian theater company in the US.
Ann Arbor, Michigan becomes the first U.S. city to pass a broad gay civil rights law. The city council passes the Human Rights Code making discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, public accommodation, and employment illegal throughout the city.
“Given a choice between sharing a park with homosexuals or a bunch of white-sheeted, racist, hate-peddling losers, we think we would prefer homosexuals.” This quote is from an editorial in the Texas Daily News regarding an upcoming anti-gay rally by the Ku Klux Klan.
Raykeea Raeen-Roes Wilson (born July 10, 1991), known professionally as Angel Haze, is an American rapper and singer. In 2012, Wilson released Reservation. On December 31, 2013, Wilson released her debut album Dirty Goldwhich featured the singles Echelon (It’s My Way) and Battle Cry. Wilson is pansexual and agender. She has said: “People talking about me, like, ‘I’m glad there’s an actual woman of color representing queerness and pansexuality, someone who is like me in the spotlight.
Tab Hunter (born Arthur Andrew Kelm; July 11, 1931 – July 8, 2018) is born. He was an American actor, television host, pop singer, film producer, and author. He starred in more than 40 films and was a well-known Hollywood star and heart throb of the 1950s and 1960s, known for his golden blond California surfer-boy looks. At his height he had his own television show The Tab Hunter Show and a hit single with Young Love. His break-through role came when he was cast as the young Marine Danny in 1955’s World War II drama Battle Cry. He starred in the 1958 musical film Damn Yankees in which he played Joe Hardy of Washington, D.C.’s American League baseball club. Hunter’s autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star (2005), co-written with Eddie Muller, became a New York Times best-seller. In the book, he acknowledges that he is gay, confirming rumors that had circulated since the height of his fame. Hunter had long-term relationships with actor Anthony Perkins (April 4, 1932 – September 12, 1992) and champion figure skater Ronnie Robertson (September 25, 1937 – February 4, 2000) before settling down with his partner of over 30 years, film producer Allan Glaser. Hunter died from complications of deep vein thrombosis that caused cardiac arrest on July 8, 2018, three days before his 87th birthday. According to his partner Glaser, Hunter’s death was “sudden and unexpected”.
Giorgio Armani (July 11, 1934) is born. He is an Italian fashion designer, particularly noted for his menswear and is also known as the man who put women into men’s blazers. He formed his company, Armani, in 1975, and by 2001 was acclaimed as the most successful designer that Italy has produced. Armani is an intensely private man but has publicly identified as bisexual. He had a longstanding relationship with architect Sergio Galeotti (1945-Aug. 14, 1985) who died of AIDS-related complications in 1985. Galeotti was co-founder and chairman of the board of Armani.
Vito Russo (July 11, 1946 – November 7, 1990) is born. He was an American LGBT activist, and film historian who is best remembered as the author of the book The Celluloid Closet (1981, revised edition 1987). Russo’s concern over how LGBT people were presented in the popular media led him to co-found the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a watchdog group that monitors LGBT representation in the mainstream media and presents the annual GLAAD Media Awards. The Vito Russo Award is named in his memory and is presented to an openly gay or lesbian member of the media community for their outstanding contribution in combating homophobia. When he published the first edition of The Celluloid Closet in 1981, there was little question that it was a ground-breaking book. Today it is still one of the most informative and provocative books written about gay people and popular culture. Russo appeared in the 1989 Academy Award-winning documentary Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt as a “storyteller,” relating the life and death of his lover Jeffrey Sevcik (1955-1986). Russo was diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and died of AIDS-related complications in 1990. His work was posthumously brought to television in the 1996 HBO documentary film The Celluloid Closet, co-executive produced and narrated by Lily Tomlin. Also in 1990, Merrill College at UC Santa Cruz established the Vito Russo House to promote Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender awareness and provide a safe and comfortable living environment for queer, straight-supportive and all students who value and appreciate diversity. The house tailors its programming to meet the needs of LGBT students and offers all an opportunity to build understanding and tolerance. Russo’s papers are held by the New York Public Library.
Jack Wrangler, born John Robert Stillman (July 11, 1946 – April 7, 2009), is born. He was an American gay and straight pornographic film actor, theatrical producer, director and writer. Open about his homosexuality and adult film work throughout his career, Wrangler was considered an icon of the gay liberation movement.
Oklahoma County Attorney Curtis Harris revealed that 26 teachers and school administrators in Oklahoma City had been forced to resign following a six-month investigation into “alleged homosexual activity.”
Esera Tavai Tuaolo (born July 11, 1968) is born. He was a former American professional football player, a defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for nine years. Tuaolo, who is of Samoan ancestry, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised in poverty in a banana-farming family in Waimanalo. He played college football at Oregon State University. Nick-named “Mr. Aloha”, Tuaolo played tackle for several teams in his career, reaching the Super Bowl in 1999 while playing with the Atlanta Falcons. He also played for the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers during his career. He recorded the last tackle of football legend John Elway. In 2002, having retired from sports, he announced to the public that he is gay, coming out on HBO’s Real Sports. This made him the third former NFL player to come out after David Kopay (born June 28, 1942) and Roy Simmons (November 8, 1956 – February 20, 2014). He has since worked with the NFL to attempt to combat homophobia in the league and is a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation. He made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004 to share his coming out story. Tuaolo’s autobiography, Alone in the Trenches: My Life As a Gay Man in the NFL, was released in the spring of 2006. Tuaolo currently resides in Minneapolis. Along with his advocacy and singing, he does philanthropic work, cooks professionally, and runs Hate in Any Form is Wrong, an anti-bullying program.
1986, New Zealand
The NZ Homosexual Law Reform Act of 1986 decriminalizes consensual sex between men. Homosexual male sex had been illegal in NZ since 1840.
Dr. Tom Waddell (November 1, 1937 – July 11, 1987) dies on this day. He was a gay American sportsman and competitor at the 1968 Summer Olympics who founded the Gay Olympics in 1982 in San Francisco. The international sporting event was later renamed the Gay Games after the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) sued Waddell for using the word “Olympic” in the original name. The Gay Games are held every four years. The October 11, 1976 issue of People magazine featured Waddell and his lover Charles Deaton in a cover article. They were the first gay couple to appear on the cover of a major national magazine. In 1981, while founding the Gay Games, Waddell met two people with whom he formed major relationships. One was public relations man and fundraiser Zohn Artman with whom he fell in love and began a relationship. The other was lesbian athlete Sara Lewinstein. Both Tom and Sara had longed to have a child so they decided to have a child together. Their daughter, Jessica, was born in 1983. To protect Jessica’s and her mother’s legal rights, Tom and Sara married in 1985. In the 1980s Waddell was employed at the City Clinic in San Francisco’s Civic Center area; after his death, it was renamed for him. He died of complications from AIDS.
Muscatine, Iowa’s public library board held a meeting to discuss the possible removal of books about gays and lesbians from the shelves. The proposal was defeated. Of the 75 residents who attended the meeting only one was in favor of the proposal.
The Vatican condemns a decision by municipal authorities in Pisa, Italy to recognize a lesbian marriage. The women had been together for eleven years.
Britain’s House of Lords repeals the notorious anti-gay Section 28, the Thatcher-era law that banned any mention of homosexuality in schools.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago orders Southern Illinois University to officially recognize the Christian Legal Society, a student group that excludes membership to gays and people who support LGBT issues, while a lawsuit against the university proceeds. The injunction allows the group to use university facilities and receive funding from the public institution even though the school’s own policies and state law bars discrimination against gays.
Florida State Rep. Bob Allen (Republican), a co-chair of John McCain’s Florida presidential campaign, was arrested for trying to charge a cop $20 for oral sex in a park restroom in Titusville, FL. During his time in the Florida legislature, Allen was a staunch supporter of anti-gay legislation. In 2009, Newsweek listed Allen among other conservative and liberal politicians who were caught in sex scandals.
Jane Lynch (July 14, 1960), Billie Jean King (November 22, 1943), Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts (December 15, 1967), LGBT leader Urvashi Vaid (October 8, 1958- May 14, 2022) and other influential lesbians form their own political action group to fundraise and lobby on issues that impact lesbians in the U.S. LPAC provides financial backing to pro-lesbian candidates, whether Democrat or Republican, male or female, gay or straight. Laura Ricketts is the daughter of Joe Ricketts, a Republican businessman who had donated large sums to an anti-Obama super PAC. His daughter, however, was a major donor to President Obama. While there are already women’s and LGBT groups-such as EMILY’s List and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund-LPAC bills itself as the first super PAC to specifically target lesbians who are generally a small subset of these two communities.
Stacy Offner became the rabbi of Temple Beth Tikvah in Madison, Connecticut. Offner is an openly lesbian American rabbi and was the first to be hired by a mainstream Jewish congregation. She also became the first rabbi-elected chaplain of the Minnesota Senate, the first female vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism, and the first woman to serve on the national rabbinical pension board. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Kenyon College and earned an M.A. in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College in New York. She also has an honorary degree from Hebrew Union College where she was ordained in 1984. She was fired from her job as associate rabbi when she came out as a lesbian in 1987. She left with some of her congregants and in 1988 they founded Shir Tikvah, a Reform congregation in Minneapolis.
Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) is born in Concord, Massachusetts. He was an American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Civil Disobedience (originally published as Resistance to Civil Government), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. His life was spent falling in and out of love with his male companions. He strove to portray himself as an ascetic puritan. However, his sexuality has long been the subject of speculation, including by his contemporaries. Thoreau never married and was childless. Critics have called him heterosexual, homosexual, or asexual. There is no evidence to suggest he had physical relations with anyone, man or woman. Some scholars have suggested that homoerotic sentiments run through his writings and concluded that he was homosexual.
Poet Stefan George (July 12, 1868 – December 4, 1933) is born. Believing that the purpose of poetry was distance from the world-he was a strong advocate of art for art’s sake-George’s writing had many ties with the French Symbolist movement and he was in contact with many of its representatives including Stephane Mallarme and Paul Verlaine. George was an important bridge between the 19th century and German modernism even though he was a harsh critic of the then modern era. George’s homosexuality is reflected in works such as Algabal and the love poetry to a gifted adolescent of his acquaintance named Maximilian Kronberger whom he called Maximin and whom he identified as a manifestation of the divine.
French writer Max Jacob (July 12, 1876 – March 5, 1944) is born. He was a poet, painter, writer, and critic. He was among the leaders of the avant-garde art movement in Paris during the early 20th century. He is regarded as an important link between the symbolists and the surrealists as seen in his prose poems The Dice Box (1917) and in his paintings, exhibitions of which were held in New York City in 1930 and 1938. Max Jacob was Jewish but converted to Catholicism hoping to stem his homosexual urges. He was arrested on February 24, 1944 by the Gestapo and died in a former housing block which served as the internment camp known as Drancy.
Milton Berle (born Mendel Berlinger; July 12, 1908 – March 27, 2002) was an American comedian and actor. As the host of NBC’s Texaco Star Theater (1948-55), he was the first major American television star and known to millions of viewers as “Uncle Miltie” and “Mr. Television” during TV’s golden age. While Berle was heterosexual, he often cross-dressed on his television shows.
American novelist, biographer, literary critic, and essayist Doris Grumbach (born July 12, 1918) is born on this date in New York City. She taught at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and American University in Washington, D.C., and was literary editor of The New Republic for several years. Following her 1972 divorce, she began a relationship with Sybil Pike (July 27, 1929-March 9, 2021) who became and remains her life partner. For two decades, she and Sybil operated a bookstore, Wayward Books, in Sargentville, Maine, until 2009 when they moved to a retirement home in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Pianist Van Cliburn (Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr.) (July 12, 1934 – February 27, 2013) is born. He was an American pianist who achieved worldwide recognition in 1958 at the age of 23 when he won the inaugural quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow during the Cold War. Cliburn received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2001. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003 by President George W. Bush, and, in October 2004, the Russian Order of Friendship, the highest civilian awards of the two countries. He was also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award the same year. In 1998, Cliburn was named in a lawsuit by his domestic partner of seventeen years, mortician Thomas Zaremba. In the suit, Zaremba claimed entitlement to a portion of Cliburn’s income and assets and went on to charge that he might have been exposed to HIV and claimed emotional distress. Each claim was subsequently dismissed by an Appellate Court, citing palimony suits are not permitted in the state of Texas unless the relationship is based on a written agreement.
A directive from Heinrich Himmler of the Nazi Reich Main Security Office mandated that any homosexual who had seduced more than one person would be put into a concentration camp. Evidence of a sexual act was often absent in meeting the criteria.
Milton Teagle “Richard” Simmons (born July 12, 1948) is an American fitness guru, actor, and comedian. He promotes weight-loss programs, prominently through his Sweatin’ to the Oldies line of aerobics videos and is known for his eccentric, flamboyant, and energetic personality. Aside from his three Dalmatians and two maids, Simmons lives alone in Beverly Hills, California. While his sexual orientation has been the subject of much speculation, he has never publicly discussed his sexuality. In May 2017, Simmons sued the National Enquirer, Radar Online and American Media, Inc. for libel and false claims that he was undergoing gender reassignment. In September 2017, Simmons lost the lawsuit and was ordered to pay the defendants’ attorney’s fees.
Cheyenne David Jackson (July 12, 1975) is born. He is an American actor and singer-songwriter. His credits include leading roles in Broadway musicals and other stage roles as well as film and television roles, concert singing, and music recordings. Jackson appeared on the March 26, 2008, cover of The Advocate. The magazine used the caption “Hello, gorgeous! For leading man Cheyenne Jackson, coming out is a beautiful thing.” In 2008, he was named “Entertainer of the Year” by Out and appeared beside Gus Van Sant, Katy Perry, and Sam Sparro on the magazine’s commemorative 100th issue in December. Jackson is an LGBT rights supporter and an international ambassador for The Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR). Jackson is also a national ambassador and spokesperson for the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to serving the needs of LGBT youth. In October 2013, Jackson announced he was dating actor Jason Landau (April 12, 1977). They were married in Encino, California in September 2014. Jackson and Landau welcomed twins on October 7, 2016.
Kyrsten Sinema (born July 12, 1976) is born. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, making her the first openly bisexual member of Congress. A member of the Democratic Party, she served in both chambers of the Arizona legislature, being elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2005, and the Arizona Senate in 2011. Sinema has worked for the adoption of the DREAM Act and has campaigned against Propositions 107 and 102, two voter referendums to ban the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona. In 2005 and 2006, she was named the Sierra Club’s Most Valuable Player. She also won the 2006 Planned Parenthood CHOICE Award, 2006 Legislator of the Year Award from both the Arizona Public Health Association and the National Association of Social Workers, 2006 Legislative Hero Award from the Arizona League of Conservation Voters, and the 2005 Stonewall Democrats’ Legislator of the Year Award. In 2010, she was named one of Time magazine’s “40 Under 40.” Sinema is the only openly non-theist or atheist member of Congress although she herself has disassociated from such labels. She has reversed her stand on many of the above issues and is barely a Democrat any longer.
France removes homosexuality from its official list of mental illnesses.
The International Lesbian and Gay Association votes almost unanimously not to revoke the membership of the South African Gay Association after testimony from a representative who stated that the organization was opposed to apartheid.
Poland’s first gay pride demonstration was canceled because city authorities refused to issue the necessary permits.
William Douglas Ireland (March 31, 1946 – October 26, 2013) was an American journalist and blogger who wrote about politics, power, media, and LGBT issues. He was the U.S. correspondent for the French political-investigative weekly Bakchich for which he also wrote a weekly column, and he was the contributing editor for International Affairs of Gay City News. Scott Tucker has called him “not only a left-wing critic of sexual and political conformism among sectors of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movements, but also one of the notable public intellectuals of the civil libertarian left. On this day Ireland suggested rebuilding the Gay Movement in The Nation, and that “the direction the gay movement takes will depend not on checkbook activism but on the kind of energy and commitment that people bring to work in their own communities. This may involve some nasty battles with more conservative gay elements and force the debate into the open, but the ultimate goal is victories that last, and that’s worth the fight.”
Angela Bowen (February 6, 1936 – July 12, 2018) dies. She was an American dance teacher, English professor, and a lesbian rights activist. Bowen co-founded the Bowen/Peters School of Dance in New Haven, Connecticut in the 1960s. It closed in 1982. She became a gay rights activist and served on the board of the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays. Bowen was a professor of English and Women’s Studies at California State University, Long Beach. She was the subject of the 2016 documentary, The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen, by her wife Jennifer Abod and Mary Dupree which won Best Documentary in the Women’s History U.S. category at the 2017 To the Contrary About Women and Girls film festival. Bowen suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and died on July 12, 2018 in Long Beach, California, at age 82.
100 BC, Italy
Caius Julius Caesar (July 13, 100 BC – March, 15, 44 BC) is born in Rome. He had an affair with Nicomedes IV of Bithynia early in his career according to some historians. Caesar was referred to as the Queen of Bithynia by some Roman politicians as a way to humiliate him. Catullus wrote two poems suggesting that Caesar and his engineer Mamurra were lovers, but later apologized. Mark Antony charged that Octavian had earned his adoption by Caesar through sexual favors. Suetonius described Antony’s accusation of an affair with Octavian as political slander. Octavian eventually became the first Roman Emperor as Augustus.
Mary Emma Woolley (July 13, 1863 – September 5, 1947) is born today. She was an American educator, peace activist and women’s suffrage supporter. She was the first female student to attend Brown University and served as the 11th President of Mount Holyoke College from 1900 to 1937. In 1900, Woolley was one of 60 signers of the Call for the Lincoln Emancipation Conference to Discuss Means for Securing Political and Civil Equality for the Negro, a document which created the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She lived in a lesbian relationship with Professor Jeanette Marks (1875-1964) for fifty-five years.
According to an article in Ohio’s Springfield Daily Republic, James Chesser marries George Ann Holly who is actually one George Burton, discovered to be a male person after a medical exam. They were a young interracial couple living in Fort Smith, Arkansas from May to July of 1888. Both men were charged with sodomy. This is thought to be the first case where two men were duly married to one another.
Hitler gave a speech in response to a retaliation that occurred after the murder of Ernst Rohm. The speech equated being homosexual with being a traitor.
Monique Wittig (July 13, 1935 – January 3, 2003) is born in Haut-Rhin, France. She was a French author and feminist theorist and one of the founders of the Mouvement de Libration des Femmes (MLF) (Women’s Liberation Movement). On August 26, 1970, accompanied by numerous other women, she put flowers under the Arc de Triomphe to honor the wife of The Unknown Soldier. This symbolic action was considered to be the founding event of French feminism. Defining herself as a radical lesbian, she and other lesbians during the early 1980s in France and Quebec reached a consensus that “radical lesbianism” posits heterosexuality as a political regime that must be overthrown.
Daniel Joseph “Danny” Lockin (July 13, 1943 – August 21, 1977) was an American actor and dancer who appeared on stage, television, and film. He was best known for his portrayal of the character Barnaby Tucker in the 1969 film Hello, Dolly! On the night of August 21, 1977, Lockin went to a gay bar in Garden Grove, California and left with Charles Leslie Hopkins who already had a police record and was on probation at the time. Several hours later, Hopkins called police to say that a man had entered his apartment and tried to rob him. Upon arrival, police found Lockin’s body on the floor of Hopkin’s apartment. He had been stabbed 100 times and bled to death. His body had also been mutilated after death. Hopkins claimed he had no idea how the dead body got in his apartment. He was arrested, convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and sentenced to a four-year prison term.
Joan E. Biren or JEB (born July 13, 1944) is an American feminist photographer and filmmaker who dramatizes the lives of LGBTs in contexts that range from healthcare and hurricane relief to Womyn’s Music and anti-racism. For portraits, she encourages sitters to act as her “muse” rather than her “subject.” In her early 20s, Biren and others, including Rita Mae Brown (born November 28, 1944) and Charlotte Bunch (October 13, 1944), formed The Furies Collective, a radical experiment in lesbian feminist separatist organizing. Though the collective lasted only about 18 months, it had a profound influence on lesbian thought through its newspaper, The Furies, and other publications. JEB’s papers and visual materials are permanently archived at The Sophia Smith Collection, the premiere women’s history collection, at Smith College. Many of her photographs are located at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In addition, The George Washington University houses a collection of photographs used in Queerly Visible: 1971-1991.
Danitra Vance (July 13, 1954 – August 21, 1994) is born. She was an African American comedian and actress best known as a cast member on the NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live during its eleventh season and for work in feature films like Sticky Fingers (1988), Limit Up (1990) and Jumpin’ at the Boneyard (1992). Vance was the first African American woman to become an SNL repertory player in 1985. She was awarded an NAACP Image Award in 1986 and later won an Obie Award for her performance in the theatrical adaptation of Spunk, a collection of short stories written by Zora Neale Hurston. She died of breast cancer in 1994.
In response to a letter asking if she considered homosexuality a disease, advice columnist Dear Abby responded “No! It is the inability to love at all which I consider an emotional illness.”
Toronto City Council appoints former journalist-turned-lawyer Arnold Bruner to conduct a study into relations between the police and the gay community. The appointment is made five months after the infamous Toronto bath-house raids.
The Ministry of Health removes homosexuality from its official list of mental illnesses.
The U.S. House of Representatives votes to begin an investigation into reports that a major homosexual prostitution ring was operating in Congress. After a year of hearings no evidence was presented to support the allegations. The reports were the result of accusations from a former page who flunked a lie detector test.
Hate-monger Jerry Falwell appeared on television and denied that he had ever referred to the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) as vile and satanic and its members “brute beasts” on his Old Time Gospel Hour. He offered $5,000 to anyone who could prove that he had. Rev. Jerry Sloan of MCC called Falwell’s toll-free number and purchased a copy of the tape as proof then demanded payment of the $5,000. When Falwell refused, Sloan sued and won.
The Brothers debuts on Showtime as the first television show in the United States with a gay lead character. Two conservative men support their younger brother when he comes out as gay and help him navigate being openly homosexual in 1980s Philadelphia.
A full-page ad claiming gay men and lesbians can overcome their sexuality by becoming Christian ran in the New York Times. The ads were opposed by many in the scientific and medical communities including Dr. Dean Hamer (born 1951) of the National Institutes of Health who said the ads “fly in the face of scientific fact and are at odds with what we know from biological and psychological sciences.” Hamer is an American geneticist, author, and filmmaker. He is known for his research on the role of genetics in sexual orientation and human behavior, contributions to biotechnology and HIV/AIDS prevention, and popular books and documentaries on a wide range of topics.
Dr. Dean Edell wrote that “an investigation into the size of male sex organs reveals that homosexuals are generally better endowed than heterosexuals. This is a study done by the Kinsey Institute and researchers say there may be some relationship between innate sexual orientation tendencies and the size of genitalia. Researchers say they surveyed data gathered on 5,172 men and found penis sizes to be larger in homosexuals than heterosexuals based on five measurement standards. One reason for the differences in penile dimensions could be variations in prenatal hormone levels, according to the study published in the journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior.”
The Vatican orders Rev. Robert Nugent and Sister Jeannine Gramick to end their Maryland-based 22-year ministry to gays and lesbians. Jeannine Gramick, S. L., (born 1942) is a Catholic religious and advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights as a co-founder of New Ways Ministry. Robert Nugent, a Catholic priest, became nationally known for his pastoral work with gay men and lesbians, a ministry that was officially ended in 1999 when the Vatican declared it “erroneous and dangerous.”
Love in Action’s ex-gay poster boy Wade Richards revealed that his sexual orientation had not in fact changed. “I am and always have been a homosexual, and I do not believe that ex-gay ministries can ever change an individual’s sexual orientation.”
Gay activists took over the general assembly of the Church of England demanding equality for gays in the church.
Army Reserve officer Tammy Smith becomes the first openly gay U.S. general in American history. Tammy Smith (born c. 1963) is a Major General of the U.S. Army Reserve. She received her confirmation to Major General on July 13th, 2016 and was formally promoted to the position in a ceremony at the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, Korea. Major General Smith is the Deputy Commanding General-Sustainment for Eighth Army. She also became the first female general officer to serve in an Eighth Army headquarters-level position. Prior to this position, she served as the Commanding General of the 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) and served for a year in the Afghanistan War. Smith married Tracey Hepner on March 31, 2012, in a ceremony at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. The ceremony was officiated by a military chaplain. The District of Columbia began recognizing same-sex marriages in 2010 but because Smith was in the Army she could not enter into a marriage until after Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed. She is the first openly gay U.S. flag officer to come out while serving since the repeal of the policy. Smith and her spouse Tracey Hepner are active in volunteer military family support event. General Smith retired in 2021.
Angelo Poliziano (July 14, 1454 – September 24, 1494) is born in Montepulciano, Tuscany. He wrote under the name Politian and was considered the successor to Ovid. He was a tutor to the children of Lorenzo de Medici. Young men flocked from throughout Europe to study under him. He died at 42 of a heart attack while in bed with one of his students.
Annie Hindle (1840s – July 14, 1897) died. She was the first popular male impersonator performer in the United States. Born in the 1840s in England, she and her adoptive mother migrated to New York City in 1868 where she performed as a male impersonator in solo acts and in minstrel shows from 1868 to 1886. She received high reviews and steady bookings. Her skills in male impersonation astounded her audience. A review of one of her performances at the Adelphi Theater in Galveston, Texas, noted, “Annie Hindle has proved a great success. As a male impersonator her sex is so concealed that one is apt to imagine that it is a man who is singing.” Hindle’s male impersonation career ended in 1886 when she married her dresser, Annie Ryan, while on a tour through the mid-west. Hindle dressed in male clothing and gave her name as Charles and a local Baptist minister performed the ceremony.
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (August 28, 1825 – July 14, 1895) dies. Ulrichs was an openly gay lawyer who was among the earliest to call for the repeal of Germany’s sodomy law Paragraph 175. He was truly a pioneer of the modern gay rights movement.
Charles Pierce (July 14, 1926 – May 31, 1999) was one of the 20th century’s foremost female impersonators, particularly noted for his impersonation of Bette Davis. He was born on this day in Watertown, New York. Throughout his career, Pierce appeared in numerous television shows (Fame, Laverne and Shirley, Designing Women, Starsky & Hutch, and Love, American Style) as well as feature films. He died of cancer on May 31, 1999.
Jane Lynch (born July 14, 1960) is an American actress, singer, and comedian. She is best known for her role as Sue Sylvester in the musical television series Glee. Lynch is openly lesbian; in 2005, she was named one of Power Up’s 10 Amazing Gay Women in Showbiz. Lynch married clinical psychologist Lara Embry on May 31, 2010, in Sunderland, Massachusetts. In June 2013, Lynch announced that she and Embry were divorcing after three years of marriage. The divorce was finalized in January 2014.
Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA) (May 12, 1937 – October 14, 2006) comes out. He was the first openly gay member of Congress. Studds and partner Dean T. Hara (his companion since 1991) were married in Boston on May 24, 2004, one week after Massachusetts became the first state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. Studds died on October 14, 2006, in Boston, at age 69, several days after suffering a pulmonary embolism.
Graham Samuel Ackerman (born July 14, 1983) is an American gymnast. In April 2005 he won the national championship in the floor exercise event at the NCAA Men’s Gymnastics championship at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, making him a three-time national champ. In 2004 he won the national titles in two events-floor and vault. Ackerman is openly gay.
In an interview with People magazine, Roy Cohn (February 20, 1927 – August 2, 1986) denies that he was gay (he was) or that he had AIDS (he did). When Cohn brought on G. David Schine (September 11, 1927-June 19, 1996) as chief consultant to the McCarthy staff, speculation arose that Schine and Cohn had a sexual relationship. Cohn died of AIDS in 1986. During Senator Joseph McCarthy’s investigations into Communist activity in the United States during the Second Red Scare, Cohn served as McCarthy’s chief counsel and gained special prominence during the Army-McCarthy hearings. He was also known for being a Justice prosecutor at the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and later for representing Donald Trump during his early business career. In 1984, Cohn was diagnosed with AIDS and attempted to keep his condition secret while receiving experimental drug treatment. He participated in clinical trials of AZT, a drug initially synthesized to treat cancer but later developed as the first anti-HIV agent for AIDS patients. He insisted to his dying day that his disease was liver cancer. He died on August 2, 1986, in Bethesda, Maryland, of complications from AIDS, at the age of 59. Cohn’s “absolute goal was to die completely broke and owing millions to the IRS. He succeeded.” He is buried in Union Field Cemetery in Queens, New York.
In Williamson, West Virginia, a public swimming pool was closed temporarily by Mayor Sam Kapourales who ordered a scrub-down of the diving board, lounge chairs, and locker room, the pool drained and refilled, and 16 times the normal amount of chlorine added because he learned that a man with AIDS had gone swimming in the pool.
The city council of West Hartford, Connecticut voted not to allow same sex couples access to family rate discounts at the city pool.
Yukon Territory becomes the most northern area of the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act, also known as the FAIR Education Act is signed into law in California. The act requires that political, economic, and social contributions of LGBTQ people are included in educational curricula in California public schools. It also prohibits discrimination regarding school activities and groups. The bill was originally introduced by then-Senator Sheila James Kuehl (February 9, 1941).
The Los Angeles OUTFEST premiere of Letter to Anita, the heart-wrenching documentary by award-winning filmmaker Andrea Meyerson that explores the painful legacy of singer Anita Bryant’s infamous anti-gay campaign of the late 1970s.
The Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announces that he will name the Military Sealift Command fleet oiler for USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO-206). The ship is the second of the John Lewis-class oilers built by General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, Calif.
The Spanish Inquisition is abolished by Ferdinand VII’s widow Maria Christina. Between 1000 and 1600 people had been convicted of sodomy during that time and 170 were executed.
Ring of Bright Water author and naturalist Gavin Maxwell (July 15, 1914 – September 7, 1969) is born on this date. Ring of Bright Water (1960) is about how he brought an otter back from Iraq and raised it in Scotland. The otter was of a previously unknown sub-species which was subsequently named after Maxwell. Though he had been involved with several women and was married for a year, his loves were the men in his life.
Lambda Literary Award winning poet and author Michael Lassell (July 15, 1947) is born. He has written extensively in the fields of design, travel, the arts, and LGBT studies. He lives in New York City. He served as features director of Metropolitan Home from 1992 until 2009. Prior to that, he served as managing editor of Interview and L.A. Stylemagazines as well as a theater critic for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and L.A. Weekly. Lassell currently resides in Greenwich Village, New York City with his rescued dachshund Schuyler.
In New York City, Randy Wicker (Feb. 3, 1938) talks listener-supported radio station WBAI into broadcasting a taped program in which seven gay people discuss homosexuality. Widely publicized in the local press, the program is probably the first favorable broadcast on the subject in the U.S. While it resulted in positive comments in several newspapers and magazines, a group of homophobic listeners contacted the FCC to challenge the station’s license. The complaint was rejected. The 90-minute program aired in July 1962. Several mainstream media outlets, alerted by Wicker, covered the broadcast which received favorable treatment in The New York Times, The Realist, Newsweek, the New York Herald Tribune, and Variety. As a result of the publicity, from 1962 through 1964 Wicker was one of the most visible homosexuals in New York. He spoke to countless church groups and college classes and, in 1964, became the first openly gay person to appear on East Coast television with a January 31st appearance on The Les Crane Show. Wicker is also credited with organizing the first known gay rights demonstration in the United States. Wicker, along with Craig Rodwell, sexual freedom activist Jefferson Poland and a handful of others, picketed the Whitehall Street Induction Center in New York City in 1964 after the confidentiality of gay men’s draft records was violated. He supported himself by operating, with his lover Peter Ogren, Underground Uplift Unlimited, a slogan-button and head shop. The couple ran the shop from 1967 to 197 and used the proceeds to open an antique and lighting store. Wicker ran his store for 29 years. Since 2009, he has been documenting and participating in the Radical Faerie communities in Tennessee and New York.
David Cicilline (born July 15, 1961) is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Rhode Island’s 1st congressional district since 2011. Upon being sworn in, Cicilline became the fourth openly gay member of Congress. A Democratic, he previously served as mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, from 2003 to 2011, and was the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital. Rep. Cicilline introduced the Equality Act in 2015 to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act and expand protections to LGBTQ people. In September 2017, he re-introduced the Equality Act. In July 2018, Cicilline was a co-sponsor of the Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act. This act would prohibit defense lawyers from using a victim’s LGBTQ identity as justification for a crime or to argue for lesser sentences on the premise that there were extenuating circumstances that motivated their clients to lash out violently.
Santa Cruz County, California is the first U.S. county to make job discrimination against gay men and lesbians illegal.
An obviously ill actor Rock Hudson (Nov. 17, 1925 – Oct. 2, 1985) appears on television to promote his new cable series with Doris Day. His publicist explains his appearance by saying he was just getting over the flu. He died from AIDS related complications.
The book Behind the Mask by Dave Pallone (Oct. 5, 1951) debuts at #15 on the New York Times bestseller list. Pallone was a major league baseball umpire who was fired for being gay. He was “outed” in an article. Pallone now does diversity training for corporations, colleges, universities and athletes with the NCAA. Pallone was in the first class of inductees to The National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer (March 24, 1942) is informed by a military board that while she is a “great American, a great asset, and a superb leader,” and that her 27 years of service have been of “great value,” she is to be discharged for being a lesbian. She was the highest ranking person to be discharged for homosexuality, serving as a colonel in the Washington National Guard. She became a gay rights activist. She had a 15-year marriage to a man with whom they had four sons. In 1988, when she was 46, she met Diane Divelbess who later became her wife. In 2012, after same-sex marriage was legalized in Washington state, Cammermeyer and Divelbess became the first same-sex couple to get a license in Island County. They live on Whidbey Island in Washington State.
An 1897 letter written by gay author Oscar Wilde (Oct. 16, 1854 – Nov. 30, 1900) to novelist Henrietta Stannard fetched $18,745.00 at a Sotheby’s Auction. Stannard was not a lesbian but wrote under the name of John Strange Winter.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a reality show of gay men who conduct makeovers for straight men, premieres on Bravo. The show features the “Fab Five,” a quintet of gay men – Ted Allen (born May 20, 1965), Kyan Douglas (born May 5, 1970), Thom Filicia (born May 17, 1969), Carson Kressley (born November 11, 1969), and Jai Rodriguez (born June 22, 1979). The show plays on stereotypes that gay men know more about fashion, food, personal grooming, interior design and culture. The show becomes immensely popular and is praised by much of the mainstream gay press but receives some criticism for its generalizations and stereotyping. Queer Eye won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program in 2004. The series’ name was abbreviated to Queer Eye at the beginning of its third season to include making over individuals regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Queer Eye ended production during June 2006 and the final episode aired on October 30, 2007. Netflix announced in January 2017 that it was reviving the series with a new Fab Five in a season of eight episodes. On February 7, 2018, the revival aired its first season to positive reviews.
Robert Traynham, the chief of staff and communications director for homophobe Sen. Rick Santorum, (R-Pa.) confirms rumors circulating in Washington for several months that he is gay. He continued to defend Santorum even into the 2016 election cycle. Traynham is currently the Bipartisan Policy Center’s vice president of communications.
The Senate approves same-sex marriage by a vote of 33-27.
The club Jewel’s Catch One in Los Angeles opened in 1973 and closed on this day in 2015. Jewel’s Catch One was one of the first black discos in the United States and was for a long time the major black gay bar in Los Angeles. It was a dance bar owned by Jewel Thais Williams, located on West Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. Open for forty years, it was the longest running black gay dance bar in Los Angeles. After nearly closing in 2015, it was purchased by Mitch Edelson who reopened under new management. Briefly called Union after the change in management, it has since reverted to the Catch One moniker. Jewel Thais-Williams graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in History. During her college years she wanted to be self-employed. Her first business was a boutique but it went out of business, so she bought a bar. She opened the club after she experienced discrimination in different clubs around West Hollywood because she was black and female. Women at the time were not allowed to tend bar but Jewel saved enough money and bought the bar despite the limitations. When the club opened, it became a hub for a diverse population of performers including Sylvester, Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Janet Jackson, Donna Summer, Whoopi Goldberg, Rick James, and Madonna.
Mary Hamilton (1721-??) was the subject of a notorious 18th century case of fraud and female cross-dressing in which Hamilton, under the name of Charles, duped a woman into marriage. She was arrested, charged with fraud, publicly whipped, and imprisoned for six months. While the surviving records of the case indicate that Hamilton was only prosecuted for deceiving one woman into marriage, newspaper reports at the time claimed that there had been 14 marriages in all.
Novelist Reinaldo Arenas (July 16, 1943 – December 7, 1990) is born. He was a Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright who despite his early sympathy for Fidel Castro and the 1959 revolution, grew critical of and then rebelled against the Cuban government. He changed when the government began open persecution of homosexuals. His first novel, entitled Celestino Antes del Alba (Singing from the Well), was published in 1967. He came to the United States in 1980, fleeing the persecution of his homeland. On December 7, 1990, suffering from complications of AIDS and too sick to continue writing, Arenas died by suicide.
Tony Kushner (born July 16, 1956) is born. Kushner, openly gay, received a Tony and the Pulitzer Prize for writing Angels in America. Angels in America is about AIDS, religion/spirituality, family, sexuality, and politics in our culture. He also authored several children’s plays and an essay book Thinking about the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness (1995). Kushner and his spouse Mark Harris (born November 25, 1963) held a commitment ceremony in April 2003, the first same-sex commitment ceremony to be featured in the Vows column of The New York Times. Harris is an editor of Entertainment Weekly and author of Pictures at a Revolution – Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. In summer 2008, Kushner and Harris were legally married at the city hall in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
The Mattachine Society of New York hosts an organizing meeting which over 200 people attend. During the course of the meeting, approximately 40 participants walk out in dissatisfaction over chapter president Leitsch’s handling of the post-Stonewall political energy. Richard Dick Valentine Dick Leitsch (born May 11, 1935) is an American LGBT rights activist. He was president of the Mattachine Society, a gay rights group, in the 1960s. He conceptualized and lead the “Sip-In” at Julius’ Bar which was one of the earliest acts of gay civil disobedience in the United States in which LGBT activists attempted to legally gain the right to drink in bars in New York. He is also known for being the first gay reporter to publish an account of the Stonewall Riots and the first person to ever interview Bette Midler in print media.
Chad Griffin (born July 16, 1973) is an American political strategist best known for his work advocating for LGBT rights in the United States. Griffin got his start in politics volunteering for the Bill Clinton presidential campaign, which led to a position in the White House Press Office at the age of 19. Following his stint in the White House and his graduation from Georgetown University, he led a number of political campaigns advocating for or against various California ballot initiatives as well as a number of fundraising efforts for political candidates, such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Following the 2008 passage of California’s highly publicized Proposition 8 which barred the recognition of same-sex marriage, Griffin founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) to overturn the law. AFER’s challenge, Perry v. Brown, was ultimately successful following a decision by the United States Supreme Court in June 2013. In 2012, Griffin was appointed president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT rights organization in the United States
The discharge of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich (July 6, 1943 – June 22, 1988) is upheld in a civilian court by Federal District Judge Gerhard Gesell. He was a Vietnam War veteran, race relations instructor, and recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. Matlovich was the first gay service member to purposely out himself to the military to fight their ban on gays, and perhaps the best-known gay man in America in the 1970s next to Harvey Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978). His fight to stay in the United States Air Force after coming out of the closet became a cause celebre around which the gay community rallied. Matlovich was the first named openly gay person to appear on the cover of a U.S. newsmagazine. His tombstone, meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans, does not bear his name. It reads, “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service policy of barring homosexuals from entering the country is ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.
U.S. News and World Report announces that gays and lesbians make up the seventh-largest voting bloc in the US.
Jeff Levi, executive director of NGLTF (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), announces plans for a Privacy Project to fight sodomy laws.
Bill Clinton becomes the first candidate for president to mention gays and lesbians in a speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president.
Leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) vote overwhelmingly to overturn a ban on ordaining homosexuals as ministers of the church. The 317-208 vote, taken at the church’s annual general assembly in Louisville, Kentucky, comes after more than two hours of debate.
Drew Barrymore (born February 22, 1975) comes out as bisexual. She is an American actress, author, director, model and producer. She is a member of the Barrymore family of American stage and film actors and is a grand-daughter of actor John Barrymore. Barrymore began acting on television, and soon transitioned to film with roles in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Irreconcilable Differences (1984).
Rev. Troy Perry (born July 27, 1940), founder and moderator of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, marries his long-time partner in Toronto. Perry lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Phillip Ray DeBlieck whom he married under Canadian law at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. They sued the State of California upon their return home after their Toronto wedding for recognition of their marriage and won. The state appealed and the ruling was overturned by the State Supreme Court after five years in their favor.
Thailand announces it will provide free HIV/AIDS meds to any citizen who needs them.
In Rotterdam, Leendert de Haas, age 60, candlemaker, Casper Schroder, distiller, and Huibert V. Borselen, gentleman’s servant, were strangled, burnt, and their ashes carried in an ash cart out of the city and then by ship to the sea and thrown overboard during the anti-gay purge. In April 1730 some men were arrested in Utrecht. They incriminated others, and on June 21st, the State of Holland issued a Placat, posted in every town, that set off wide-scale persecution. The document began with the customary warnings about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, then lamented that no laws had heretofore been provided to punish “this execrable crime of sodomy”, and concluded with its measures for obliterating this evil: that sodomy be punished by death, that those who offer their homes for its commission also die, that their corpses be burned to ashes and thrown into the sea “or exposed as unworthy of burial”, that the names of the convicted – including the fugitives – be publicly posted, and that the magistrates be specially authorized to investigate thoroughly any suspicions, particularly against those who mysteriously flee the province. Some 250 men were summoned before the authorities; 91 faced decrees of exile for not appearing. At least 60 men were sentenced to death. The astonishing purges of 1730 were widely re-ported in the English newspapers (mainly in June and July), and probably sent men running for cover even in England. The English news reports also state that many Dutch sodomites fled to England-where they unfortunately were not accorded the same reception as refugees from religious persecution.
Ernest Rhys (July 17, 1859 – May 25, 1946) is born in London. Rhys was the editor of the Everyman Library, a collection that totaled 967 volumes containing the classics. After he retired, he wrote his autobiography filled with anecdotes about his gay clique including Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900).
Swedish director Mauritz Stiller (July 17, 1883 – November 18, 1928) is born. In addition to discovering Greta Garbo (18 September 1905 – 15 April 1990), Stiller is given credit for creating a Swiss national cinema that took a progressive attitude toward sexuality and desire.
Photographer Bernice Abbott (July 17, 1898 – December 9, 1991) is born in Springfield, Ohio. Famous for her photographs of the changing New York City cityscape, Abbott also photographed many gay, lesbian, and bisexual images during the 1920s and 30s. The film Bernice Abbott: A View of the 20th Century, which showed 200 of her black and white photographs, suggests that she was a “proud proto-feminist,” someone who was ahead of her time in feminist theory. Before the film was completed, she said, “The world doesn’t like independent women, why, I don’t know, but I don’t care.” She lived with critic, writer, and historian Elizabeth McCausland (1899-1965) for 30 years.
Fred Halsted (July 17, 1941 – May 9, 1989) is born. He was an American gay pornographic film director, actor, escort, publisher, and sex club owner. His films Sex Garage and L.A. Plays Itself are the only gay pornographic movies in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, where they were screened before a capacity audience on April 23, 1974. A screening of L.A. Plays Itself was sponsored by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on February 28, 2013 and another took place on December 16, 2011 at the Los Angeles art gallery Human Resources. His films have also been shown the Netherlands Film Museum and in competition at The Deauville Film Festival. His lover, Joseph Yanoska, died of AIDS in 1986.
Drag performer Ethyl Eichelberger (July 17, 1945 – August 12, 1990) is born in Pekin, Illinois, under the name John Roy Eichelberger. He was an American drag performer, playwright, and actor. He became an influential figure in experimental theater and writing, and performed nearly forty plays. He became more widely known as a commercial actor in the 1980s. With the lack of AIDS medications, Ethyl died by suicide on August 12, 1990.
The Wall Street Journal publishes an article entitled “U.S. Homosexuals Gain in Trying to Persuade Society to Accept Them.” The article, an overview of what was happening during the late 1960’s, was written by Charles Alverson.
Commander Michael Trestrail (born 1931), Queen Elizabeth’s personal bodyguard, is forced to resign after he was outed in the British newspapers. Soon after, reports surfaced that Margaret Thatcher wanted to raise the issue of gays in the palace until the Queen reportedly summoned her to Buckingham Palace and told her to mind her own business.
Roman Emperor Nero (15 December 37 AD – 9 June 68 AD) took the role of a bride in a public wedding ceremony to Pythagoras. Nero also married other men and some women during his lifetime.
Playwright Laurence Housman (July 18, 1865 – February 20, 1959) is born in Fockbury, England. He and his sibling, the classicist A. E. Housman (26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936), and sister Clemence (23 November 1861 – 6 December 1955) who was a woodcut artist and an activist in the women’s suffrage movement, were all gay. There is no doubt he was helped in his career by Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900). His greatest script was Victoria Regina.
A new edition of Walt Whitman’s (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) Leaves of Grass is released by Rees Welsh & Company publisher. It was rejected by his former publishers on obscenity charges. The first printing of 1000 of the new edition sold out in one day even though it was boycotted by major retailers.
Alice Mitchell’s trial begins in Tennessee. Alice Mitchell (November 26, 1872-March 31, 1898) was an American woman who gained notoriety for the murder of her lover Freda Ward. On February 23, 1892, the 19-year-old Mitchell cut the throat of her lover, 17-year-old Freda Ward. Mitchell was subsequently found insane by means of a jury inquisition and placed in a psychiatric hospital until her death in 1898. The case, exploited by sensationalist press, and focused attention of the sexual attachments of women and drew out into the public discourse discussions of lesbianism. The case was headlined as “A Very Unnatural Crime” across the country. The case influenced the popular literature of the era which began to depict lesbians as “murderous” and “masculine.” One identity that came to be through lesbians was the “mannish lesbian” creating dialogue of gender expression.
Richard Totten “Dick” Button (July 18, 1929) is born. He is an American former figure skater and a well-known long-time skating analyst. He is a twice Olympic Champion (1948, 1952) and five-time World Champion (1948-1952). Button is credited as having been the first skater to successfully land the double axel jump in competition in 1948, as well as the first triple jump of any kind – a triple loop – in 1952. He also invented the flying camel spin which was originally known as the “Button camel.” Button graduated from Harvard University in 1952 where he was a member of The Delphic Club. He received a JD degree from Harvard Law School in 1956. On July 5, 1978, Button and five other victims were attacked with baseball bats by a gang of teenagers in New York City’s Central Park. The gay-bashing left all six victims with skull fractures; Button also suffered serious nerve damage and permanent hearing loss in one ear. In 1996, Button was named to the 100 Golden Olympians, a USOC program to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic Games and honor America’s best Olympic athletes.
Lillian Faderman (born July 18, 1940) is an American historian whose books on lesbian history and LGBT history have earned critical praise and awards. The New York Times named three of her books on its “Notable Books of the Year” list. In addition, The Guardian named her book Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers one of the Top 10 Books of Radical History. Faderman studied first at the University of California, Berkeley and later at UCLA. She was a professor of English at California State University, Fresno and a visiting professor at UCLA. She retired in 2007. She lives with her wife Phyllis Irwin in San Diego.
Before Stonewall there was Compton’s Cafeteria. People picketed Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco when management starts using Pinkerton agents and police to harass LGBT customers. This precedes the August 1966 riot at Compton’s that is considered one of the first transgender rights protests in the U.S.
Elizabeth M. Gilbert (born July 18, 1969) is an American author, essayist, short story writer, biographer, novelist, and memoirist. She is best known for her 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love which had spent 199 weeks on The New York TimesBest Seller list and which was also made into a film by the same name in 2010. On September 7, 2016, Gilbert published a Facebook post saying that she was in a relationship with her best friend, writer Rayya Elias (1960-January 4, 2018). On June 6, 2017, the two celebrated a commitment ceremony with close family and friends. Elias died of pancreatic cancer on January 4, 2018.
Alabama’s first openly gay public official, Patricia Todd (born July 25, 1955), wins the Democratic primary by 59 votes. She represented downtown Birmingham in the Alabama House of Representatives. Currently she is the Human Rights Campaign Alabama State Director. Formerly she was the associate director of AIDS Alabama. Her spouse was Jennifer Clarke. They were married in 2013 and divorced in 2014.
The White House announces that President Barack Obama will sign an executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees and job seekers. LGBT discrimination would continue under the guise of so called “religious beliefs.”
July 18, 2020
The Pentagon bans confederate flags on military property but that also includes rainbow PRIDE flags. Rudy Coots, president of Department of Defense Pride, objects to the new policy because it would change Pride displays and events at the Pentagon. “It’s absolutely outrageous that Defense Secretary Mark Esper would ban the Pride flag – the very symbol of inclusion and diversity,” said Jennifer Dane, interim executive director for the Modern Military Association of America. “In what universe is it OK to turn an opportunity to ban a racist symbol like the Confederate flag into an opportunity to ban the symbol of diversity? This decision sends an alarming message to LGBT service members, their families and future recruits.”
Marina the Monk (dates of birth and death uncertain) was the daughter of a wealthy nobleman who wanted to live in the Monastery of Qannoubine in the Kadisha Valley of Lebanon. After her father found a husband for her, rather than marry, Marina cut her hair, donned men’s clothes, and changed her name to Marinus. When she died, the monks changed his clothes for burial and discovered he was female. She defied gender roles so well that, her fellow monks never once suspected that Brother Marinos was a woman, as they attributed her lack of beard and high voice as a result of pious asceticism. Her discipline and self-control also goes against the assumption of what is typical female behavior, for when she was accused of fathering a child (after years of staying in the monastery, long after her father died) she did not break down and tell the truth, as many would assume, but instead took responsibility for the child that was not hers. On this day, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Marina the Monk.
The Irish Bishop of Clogher Percy Jocelyn (November 29, 1764 – September 3, 1843) is discovered having sex with a soldier in the 1st Regiment of Guards in an alehouse in London. This is one of the largest public homosexual scandals involving the Church in the 19thcentury. The bishop is arrested, but it is possible he is allowed to escape to avoid the spectacle of the government prosecuting a clergy member. Jocelyn flees to Scotland and lives out his life under the name of Thomas Wilson, working as a butler.
Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar Nelson (July 19, 1875 – September 18, 1935) is born. She was an American poet, journalist and political activist. Among the first generation born free in the South after the Civil War, she was one of the prominent African Americans involved in the artistic flourishing of the Harlem Renaissance. Her first husband was the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar; she then married physician Henry A. Callis; and last married Robert J. Nelson, a poet and civil rights activist. Dunbar had a long-term relationship with educator Edwina Kruse (1848-?), the school’s principal, and affairs with artist Helene London and journalist Fay Jackson Robinson (1902-1988).
An editorial in a New York medical journal said that urnings, a term coined by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (August 28, 1825 – July 14, 1895) to describe men who are attracted to other men, have an irrepressible desire to act like females, and that their “perverted feelings” lead to insanity and suicide. The article was an attempt to remove homosexuality from the realm of the criminal and into the realm of the medical.
Suzanne Alberte Malherbe (19 July 1892 – 19 February 1972) is born. She and Lucy Renee Mathilde Schwob (25 October 1894 – 8 December 1954), under their pseudonyms Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, earned belated recognition for the startling photographs, collages and writings they created in the cutting-edge art world of 1920s Paris. As lovers and collaborators they left a body of surrealist work prescient in its gender ambiguity and shape-shifting, and earned fans ranging from rock star David Bowie to artist Cindy Sherman. Their lives and art are marked by fluidity – in their sexuality, in their names, in their identities. In 1909, at age seventeen, Malherbe met fifteen-year-old Lucie Schwob and began a lifelong artistic collaboration. … They took gender-neutral pseudonyms: Malherbe became Marcel Moore, and Schwob became Claude Cahun. They remained together until Cahun’s death in 1954. In 1937 Moore and Cahun moved from Paris to Jersey, possibly to escape the increasing anti-Semitism and political upheavals leading up to World War II. They remained on the island of Jersey when German troops invaded in 1940. For several years, the two risked their lives by distributing anti-Nazi propaganda to the German soldiers. Despite having reverted to their original names and introducing themselves as sisters in Jersey, their resistance activities were discovered in 1944, and they were sentenced to death. They were saved by the Liberation of Jersey in 1945, but their home and property had been confiscated and much of their art destroyed by the Germans. In 2018, a street of Paris close to the rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs where Marcel and Claude lived, took the name of Claude Cahun-Marcel Moore in the 6th district of the French capital.
The U.S. Senate Naval Affairs Committee issues its “Report on Alleged Immoral Conditions and Practices at the Naval Training Station, Newport, RI,” accusing officers under the command of Franklin D. Roosevelt, former assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy, of ordering enlisted men to engage in 11 immoral practices in order to entrap “perverts” and obtain evidence against them. The report is also one of the first to document gay male cruising areas including Riverside Drive in New York City.
A book reviewer for The New York Times, Percy A. Hutchison, writes about a new translation of the poetry of Sappho (c. 630 – c. 570 BC). He criticizes previous translators who purposely mistranslated the love poems directed toward women by masculinizing the subject. He also criticizes the fanatical Christians who destroyed much of her work by burning the library at Alexandria in 391, and Pope Gregory VII who ordered much of what remained to be destroyed.
Hans Knight of the Philadelphia Sunday Bulletin writes an article that begins “Homosexuals are sick. Very sick. They’re sick of wearing masks. They’re sick of being snickered and sneered at. They’re sick of being feared. They’re sick of being called queers, faggots, and fairies. They’re sick of being punished for being honest, of being labeled criminals by the letter of the law. They’re sick of being barred from federal jobs and the armed forces. They’re sick of being insulted on one hand, pitied on the other. Most of all, they’re sick of being told they’re sick.”
Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC) synagogue in Los Angeles receives its charter from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, making it the first officially recognized gay and lesbian synagogue. Affiliated with Reform Judaism, it has been acknowledged by the Los Angeles Conservancy as being “culturally significant” as both the first LGBT synagogue in the world, the first LGBT synagogue recognized by the Union for Reform Judaism and, in 1977, as the first LGBT synagogue to own its own building. In 1973, BCC received a Torah scroll from the town of Chotebor, Czechoslovakia, on permanent loan from Westminster Synagogue in London. It continues to be a cherished guest at BCC. Janet Marder was the congregation’s first rabbi. Lisa Ann Edwards later served as a student rabbi under their first full-time rabbi, Denise Eger (born March 14, 1960). Edwards became the Synagogue’s longest running Rabbi.
Actor Danny Roberts (July 19, 1977) is born. He is best known for appearing on The Real World: New Orleans in 2000. Prior to beginning the show, he had begun a relationship with Paul Dill, a U.S. Army captain stationed in Vicenza, Italy. Because of the U.S. Military Don’t ask, Don’t tell policy toward homosexuals, Paul’s face was obscured on TV and much national attention was brought to the issue. In early 2004 MTV aired a special where Paul (then out of the military) revealed his face for the first time and the policy and its effects were discussed. In November 2006, Roberts announced in The Advocate magazine that he and Dill had split up.
Gay author Roger Austen (1935-1984) dies by suicide. He was a literary historian whose work focused on gay writers. He was the author of Playing the Game: the Homosexual Novel in America (1977), and Genteel Pagan: The Double Life of Charles Warren Stoddard, which was unpublished at the time of his suicide. The Stoddard manuscript was later edited by Austen’s friend and mentor, Syracuse University professor John W. Crowley, and published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 1991. Additional biographical information and an account of Austen’s friendship with Crowley can be found in Crowley’s lengthy preface to Genteel Pagan.
Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis signs into law an amendment that bars homosexuals from becoming foster parents unless no heterosexual couples are available. The law was in effective for only one year.
Urvashi Vaid (October 8, 1958-May 14, 2022) is appointed to replace Jeff Levi as executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Urvashi is an Indian-American LGBT rights activist. In April 2009 Out magazine named her one of the 50 most influential LGBT people in the United States. Vaid shared homes in Manhattan and Provincetown, Massachusetts with her partner, comedian Kate Clinton.
The House of Representatives Ethics Committee votes to reprimand Rep. Barney Frank (born March 31, 1940) for his involvement with a male prostitute. Attempts to have Frank expelled from Congress by Reps William Dannemeyer and Newt Gingrich failed.
A group of ex-gays hold a press conference to counter ads stating that gays and lesbians could become straight by converting to Christianity. They said the ads were an attempt to falsely present gays and lesbians as anti-Christian and deny that many are spiritual people.
Rhode Island becomes the second state in the country to ban discrimination against transsexuals, cross-dressers and others who cross sex boundaries. The law, which became effective without the governor’s signature, prohibits discrimination based on “gender identity or expression” in housing, employment and credit. The law ensured that a worker cannot be fired for having “sex reassignment” surgery.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California refuses to apologize to gays for using the word “girlie-man” to describe his political foes.
Iranian gay youths Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, are publicly hanged in the town square in Mashhad in northeast Iran.
356 BCE, Macedonia
Alexander the Great (July 20, 356 BC – June 10, 323 BC) is born. Alexander died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon, at age 32. One of the greatest conquering generals of all time, Alexander’s love of Hephaistion, before and during a marriage, is well accepted as factual history. Upon Hephaistion’s death in battle, Alexander wept for days and pro-vided him a funeral normally afforded kings.
In Paris, a mob attacks a group of about 50 men arrested by police in a sweep of the Tuileries Gardens, a popular cruising area.
Ruth Berman (born July 19, 1936) was a health and physical education teacher at a Brooklyn high school. She and her partner Connie Kurtz (March 30, 1934- May 27, 2018) sued the New York City Board of Education for domestic partner benefits in 1988, eventually winning for all New York City employees in 1994. The couple came out of the closet on The Phil Donahue Show. Berman and Kurtz started branches of Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in Florida and New York, and in 2000, they began serving as co-chairs of the New York State NOW Lesbian Rights Task Force. They also founded The Answer is Loving Counseling Center (both certified counselors) and worked there for over twenty years. They were married on July 26, 2011, in New York. Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum officiated. They retired to Palm Beach County, Florida, where they were active in Democratic, LGBT, feminist, and BlackLivesMatter politics. The Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act had been slowly making its way through Congress. It did not pass. The bill would have amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 to provide equal treatment of LGBT older individuals. In 2002, a documentary titled Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House was made about their lives; it was directed by Deborah Dickson. The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2002, and won six best documentary awards within a year. The Ruth Berman and Connie Kurtz Papers are held in the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.
Roberta Achtenberg (July 20, 1950) is born. She is an American politician who recently served as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on Civil Rights. She also served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, becoming the first openly lesbian or gay public official in the United States, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, whose appointment to a federal position was confirmed by the United States Senate.
Martina Navratilova (born October 18, 1956) is granted U.S. citizenship, six years after she defected from Czechoslovakia. She is a retired tennis player and coach. In 2005, Tennis magazine selected her as the greatest female tennis player for the years 1965 through 2005 and is considered one of the best female players of all time. Navratilova was World No. 1 for a total of 332 weeks in singles, and a record 237 weeks in doubles, making her the only player in history to have held the top spot in both singles and doubles for over 200 weeks. In 1981, shortly after becoming a United States citizen, Navratilova gave an interview to New York Daily News sports reporter Steve Goldstein, coming out as bisexual and revealing that she had a sexual relationship with author Rita Mae Brown (born November 28, 1944), but asked him not to publish the article until she was ready to come out publicly. However, the New York Daily News published the article on July 30, 1981.Navratilova and professional basketball player and coach Nancy Lieberman (born July 1, 1958), her girlfriend at the time, gave an interview to Dallas Morning News columnist Skip Bayless, where Navratilova reiterated that she was bisexual and Lieberman identified herself as straight. Navratilova has since identified herself as a lesbian. On September 6, 2014, Navratilova proposed to her longtime girlfriend Russian former model Julia Lemigova (born 20 June 1972) at the US Open. They married in New York on December 15, 2014.
Paul Fasana (July 20, 1933-April 5, 2021) was born on this day. He helped the LGBT community thrive by keeping its history alive. The Stonewall National Museum & Archives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida was where he volunteered his time and knowledge for more than 20 years. Fasana served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War then graduated from UC Berkeley; first in 1959 with a B.A. and then 1960 with a Masters of Library Science. Armed with those degrees, he began a long career in library administration; first at the New York Public Library as a cataloguer and later at the Columbia University Libraries as director of library automation. Eventually he returned to the New York Public Library as senior vice president and director of the Research Libraries until he retired in 1995.
Fransesco della Rovere (July 21, 1414 – August 12, 1484), who later became Pope Sixtus IV, is born on this date. According to the later published chronicle of the Italian historian Stefano Infessura, Diary of the City of Rome, Sixtus was a “lover of boys and sodomites,” awarding benefices and bishoprics in return for sexual favors, and nominating a number of young men as cardinals; some of whom were celebrated for their good looks. He founded the Sistine Chapel where the team of artists he brought together introduced the Early Renaissance to Rome with the first masterpiece of the city’s new artistic age. In addition to restoring the aqueduct that provided Rome an alternative to the river water that had made the city famously unhealthy, Sixtus IV restored or rebuilt over 30 of Rome’s dilapidated churches and added seven new ones.
1730, The Netherlands
Holland issues an edict justifying arrests and capital punishment of homosexuals.
Poet Hart Crane (July 21, 1899 – April 27, 1932) is born in Garrettsville, Ohio. He has been called “a Dionyesian ecstatic from Cleveland, drunk on metaphysics and cheap red wine.” Crane associated his sexuality with his vocation as a poet and had a number of lovers until his suicide at the age of 32. His most famous poem, The Bridge, appears in The Complete Poems of Hart Crane.
The Ontario Human Rights Code Review Committee releases its report Life Together, calling for major changes in code and commission, including strong support for inclusion of sexual orientation.
Enso Francone, a 32 year-old Italian in Moscow for the summer Olympics, chains himself to a fence in Red Square to protest Soviet persecution of homosexuals. He was dragged away by KGB officers.
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (born March 31, 1940) addresses the House of Representatives for one hour regarding a Justice Department memo that misrepresents medical evidence to give the impression that AIDS is casually transmitted. He criticized the memo as an invitation to discriminate.
Michael Dukakis officially becomes the Democratic candidate for President. During his acceptance speech he promises to do more in the fight AIDS.
Chrysler employee and gay activist Ron Woods spoke about his coming out in The New Yorker. He had been physically assaulted and received death threats.
The Lesbian Health Initiative in Houston receives a $50,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Waheed Alli, Baron Alli (born 16 November 1964) takes his place in the House of Lords as the youngest and the first openly gay Muslim life peer to be appointed in Britain. He is a British multimillionaire media entrepreneur and politician. He was co-founder and managing director of Planet 24, a TV production company, and managing director at Carlton Television Productions. He was, until November 2012, chairman of ASOS.com. He is the Chief Executive of Silvergate Media which purchased two of the media rights previously held by Chorion Ltd where Alli was former chairman. Alli is a patron of Oxford Pride, the annual Pride event in Oxfordshire, and of Pride London. He is also a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Meeting to discuss the formation of Gay/Lesbian Pride Committee of Guadalajara and to join the Pride Organization National and International Plan takes place at the Flama Latina night club.
President Obama issues an executive order to prohibit job discrimination against LGBT people in federal employment.
In England, Ann Marrow is found guilty of impersonating a man so she could marry three different women and defraud them. Marrow was sentenced to three months in prison and had stand at the pillory at Charing Cross, where she was pelted so severely, primarily by female spectators, that she was blinded in both eyes. The spectacle of the sentence was crucial in the very public unmasking of the female body hidden by the passing cross-dresser.
Frederick William Rolfe (July 22, 1860 – October 25, 1913) is born. He is better known as Baron Corvo but also calling himself Frederick William Serafino Austin Lewis Mary Rolfe. He was a flamboyant and decadent English writer, novelist, artist, fantasist and eccentric. His writings were an unashamed celebration of male love and friendships. His fantasy autobiography Hadrian the Seventh (1904) was successfully adapted by Peter Luke as a stage production in London in 1968, in which the part of Hadrian/Rolfe was played by Alec McCowen. Further productions with Barry Morse played in Australia, on Broadway, and in a short USA national tour.
Film Director James Whale (July 22, 1889 – May 29, 1957) is born in Dudley, England. He directed such classics as Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and The Invisible Man. His death was featured in the film Gods and Monsterswhere he was portrayed by out gay actor Sir Ian McKellan (born 25 May 1939). James Whale lived as an openly gay man throughout his career in the British theatre and in Hollywood, something that was virtually unheard of in the 1920s and 1930s. He and David Lewis lived together as a couple from around 1930 to 1952. Whale died by suicide, drowning himself in his Pacific Palisades swimming pool on May 29, 1957 at the age of 67.
Grover Dale (born July 22, 1935) is an American actor, dancer, choreographer and theatre director. He was involved in a six-year relationship with actor Anthony Perkins (April 4, 1932 – September 12, 1992) that ended in 1973 when he married actress/singer Anita Morris; they remained married until Morris’s death in 1994. Dale’s Broadway stage debut was in the 1956 musical Li’l Abner as a dancer. He appeared in the original cast of West Side Story as Snowboy, a member of the Jets gang. Other stage credits include the role of Andrew in Greenwillow, in which he also understudied Anthony Perkins as Gideon Briggs; Noel Coward’s Sail Away where he had the juvenile lead role of architect Barnaby Slade; and in Half a Sixpence where he played Pearce, one of a quartet of 19th century London shop apprentices around whom the show is structured.
Lesbian singer Emily Saliers (July 22, 1963), a member of the rock/folk duo Indigo Girls, is born on this date in New Haven, Connecticut. She has a passion for wine collecting, and is the co-owner of Watershed restaurant in Decatur, Georgia. Saliers married her longtime girlfriend, former Indigo Girls tour manager Tristin Chipman at New York City Hall in 2013.
Born on this day, Roland Tec is an American writer and movie director. His 1997 film All the Rage is widely considered a hallmark of the Queer Indie Film movement of the ’90s for what was then its unprecedented critical view of A-list gay male culture of perfection.
The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) is given its first mission status in Canada. It begins holding services at Holy Trinity Church in Toronto under Rev Bob Wolfe.
Rufus Wainwright (July 22, 1973) is born. He is an openly gay Grammy-nominated Canadian-American singer-songwriter. He released his first album in 1998 to great critical acclaim. He has contributed to several film soundtracks, including Moulin Rouge, I Am Sam, Heights, and Brokeback Mountain. Wainwright is the son of musicians Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle. In April 2010, Wainwright came out publicly in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States because he wanted to marry his partner, Jorn Weisbrodt (born 26 January 1973).
In Toronto a second march is organized by the Coalition Against Anita Bryant to protest the homophobe’s visit to the city takes place.
The U.K. House of Commons extends the Sexual Offenses Act to cover Scotland, decriminalizing most private consensual sex acts between men.
Three same-sex couples sue the state of Vermont on the grounds that banning same-sex unions is a violation of their state constitution. Baker v. Vermont, 744 A.2d 864 (Vt. 1999) was 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. The plaintiffs were Stan Baker and Peter Harrigan, Holly Puterbaugh and Lois Farnham, and Nina Beck and Stacy Jolles. Two of the couples had raised children together. The couples sued their respective localities and the state of Vermont, requesting a declaratory judgment that the denial of licenses violated Vermont’s marriage statutes and the state Constitution. The plaintiffs were represented by Mary Bonauto (born June 8, 1961), an attorney with Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and two Vermont attorneys, Susan Murray and Beth Robinson.
A Federal appeals court declines to hear a challenge to Florida’s ban on gay adoption.
An Athens court rules that the term lesbian “does not define status and personality and therefore the Lesbos islanders have no reason to complain that they felt personally slighted by its use.” The word lesbian is derived from the name of the island of lesbos where the Greek poet Sappho lived.
Argentina legalizes same-sex marriage.
A bill to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is introduced in Congress, overturning the 1993 law prohibiting lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from serving openly in the U.S. military.
A lesbian couple, Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen, who had been camping on a neighboring island, use their boat to ferry forty people to safety as 69 other people are being shot and killed.
Sixteen year-old Dwayne Jones attends a party in Montego Bay dressed as a woman and dances with men. A mob identified Dwayne as male and killed him. His story gained international attention and outcry as an example of the anti-LGBT violence issues in Jamaica.
Margaret Clap (died c. 1726) is convicted for of “keeping a disorderly house of the entertainment of sodomites.” Better known as Mother Clap, she was notable for running a molly house, an inn or tavern primarily frequented by homosexual men. She was also heavily involved in the ensuing legal battles after her premises were raided and shut down. Primarily targeted by the Society for the Reformation of Manners, the house had been under surveillance for two years. While not much is known about her life, she was an important part of the gay subculture of early 18th-century England. At the time sodomy in England was a crime under the Buggery Act 1533, punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or the death penalty. Despite this, particularly in larger cities, private homosexual activity took place. To service these actions there existed locations where men from all classes could find partners or just socialize, called molly houses, “molly” being slang for a gay man at the time. One of the most famous of these was Clap’s molly house.
Charlotte Cushman (July 23, 1816 – February 18, 1876) was born in Boston. She was an opera singer but when her voice began to fail she turned to acting, becoming America’s first great performer. Cushman did not limit her roles to females, earning accolades for Hamlet and Romeo. It may have been a hint about her own life. Cushman was involved romantically with just about every major female of her time including Rosalie Sully (June 3, 1818 – July 8, 1847), one of America’s first female foreign correspondents writer Anne Hampton Brewster (October 29, 1818 – April 1, 1892), writer and actress Matilda Hays (8 September 1820 – 3 July 1897), African American/Native American sculptor Edmonia Lewis (c. July 4, 1844 – September 17, 1907), the first female professional sculptor Harriet Hosmer (October 9, 1830 – February 21, 1908), sculptor Emma Stebbins (1 September 1815 – 25 October 1882), and actress, Emma Crow (April 3, 1839 – September 15, 1920). In 1869, Cushman underwent treatment for breast cancer. Stebbins ignored her own sculpting career and devoted all of her time to caring for Cushman. In 1915 she was elected to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. Her Charlestown home is a site on the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail.
Ruth Charlotte Ellis (July 23, 1899 – October 5, 2000) is born. She was an open lesbian and an LGBT rights activist. Her life was the subject of the documentary directed by Yvonne Welbon, Living with Pride: Ruth C. Ellis at 100. Until her death in 2000 at age 101, she was thought to be the oldest living “out” African American lesbian. Her parents were born in the last years of slavery in Tennessee. She came out as a lesbian around 1915, and graduated from Springfield High School in 1919, at a time when fewer than seven percent of African Americans graduated from secondary school. In the 1920s, she met the only woman she ever lived with, Ceciline “Babe” Franklin. They moved together to Detroit, Michigan, in 1937 where Ellis became the first American woman to own a printing business in that city. She made a living printing stationery, fliers, and posters out of her house. Ellis and Franklin’s house was also known in the African American community as the “gay spot.” It was a central location for gay and lesbian parties, and also served as a refuge for African American gays and lesbians. Although Ellis and Franklin eventually separated, they were together for more than 30 years. Franklin died in 1973.Throughout her life, Ellis was an advocate of the rights of gays and lesbians, and of African Americans. She died in her sleep at her home on October 5, 2000.
Samuel M. Steward (July 23, 1909 – December 31, 1993) is born in Woodsfield, Ohio. He hated teaching and students so much he gave it up to become a tattoo artist. When he wasn’t tattooing, he was feeding information about the tattoo subculture to Alfred Kinsey. He wrote under the name Phil Andros and became one of the 20th century’s greatest porn writers. Unlike modern gay porn, Steward’s characters spouted Shakespeare while they had sex with handsome young men. Starting in 2001, Steward’s biographer Justin Spring tracked down Steward’s archive and began writing Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade, which was ultimately published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2010. The book was the recipient of many literary honors and was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Gavin Lambert (23 July 1924 – 17 July 2005) is born. He was a British screenwriter, novelist and biographer who lived part of his life in Hollywood. His final biography was Natalie Wood: A Life (2004) where he claimed that Wood frequently dated gay and bisexual men including director Nicholas Ray (August 7, 1911 – June 16, 1979) and actors Nick Adams (July 10, 1931 – February 7, 1968), Raymond Burr (May 21, 1917 – September 12, 1993), James Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955), Tab Hunter (July 11, 1931 – July 8, 2018), and Scott Marlowe (November 28, 1932 – January 6, 2001). Lambert said he was also involved with Ray and that Wood supported playwright Mart Crowley (born August 21, 1935- March 7, 2020) (a later lover of Lambert’s) in a manner that made it possible for him to write his play The Boys in the Band (1968). Lambert was also a biographer and novelist, who focused his efforts on biographies of gay and lesbian figures in Hollywood.
Novelist Lisa Alther (born July 23, 1944) is born. Alther’s most recent book, published in spring 2007, is a nonfiction work entitled Kinfolks: Falling Off the Family Tree, the Search for My Melungeon Ancestors. As in others of Alther’s novels, lesbianism is portrayed as one of several possible versions of how one might live one’s life. Alther’s heroines tend not to have a single sexual identity but move from lesbian relationships to heterosexual ones, or vice versa.
A publicist for actor Rock Hudson (November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985) announces that he is being treated for inoperable liver cancer in Paris. The AIDS epidemic got much needed publicity and support after it was revealed that Hudson actually had AIDS.
After a two-year legal battle, a Minnesota judge grants custody of Sharon Kowalski to her father rather than her lover, Karen Thompson. After Kowalski was severely disabled, her father put her in a nursing home and forbade visits by Thompson. Thompson continued the legal fight, but it was more than three years before she saw Kowalski again. Re Guardianship of Kowalski, 478 N.W.2d 790 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991) is a Minnesota Court of Appeals case that established a lesbian’s partner as her legal guardian after she became incapacitated following an automobile accident. Because the case was contested by Kowalski’s parents and family and initially resulted in the partner being excluded for several years from visiting Kowalski, the gay community celebrated the final resolution in favor of the partner as a victory for gay rights. Karen Thompson received several awards for her work to achieve LGBT equality, including the 2012 “100 Women We Love” from Go Magazine, the Liberty Award from Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the 1989 Annual Humanitarian Award from the American Psychological Association. Together Thompson and Sharon Kowalski received the 1990 Woman of Courage Award from the National Organization for Women, the 1991 Feminist of the Year Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation, and a 1990 Creating Change Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
At its national convention in Miami, Florida, the Catholic gay organization Dignity voted to peacefully challenge the Vatican’s Ratzinger letter that referred to homosexuality as “a strong tendency to behavior which is intrinsically evil.” It opposed civil rights for gays and lesbians, barred churches from allowing organizations that do not agree with church teachings on homosexuality from using church facilities, and suggested that anti-gay violence should not come as a surprise to society. On the same day in San Francisco, several groups protest the Pope’s visit, including the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Jewish holocaust survivors.
President Ronald Reagan announces the formation of a presidential commission on AIDS. None of the 13 members was an expert on AIDS. It included Richard DeVos, political ally of Pat Robertson; homophobic New York Archbishop John Cardinal O’Connor; and Penny Pullen, an associate of homophobe Phyllis Schlafley. Conservatives had a hissy-fit over the selection of Dr. Frank Lilly, a medical researcher who said that “As far as I know, I’m the only gay on the panel. “It was viewed as an embarrassment by medical authorities, a joke by the gay community, and a fiasco by several members of the Reagan administration.
Eight British Columbia couples took the fight for legalized gay and lesbian marriage to the B.C. Supreme Court. They argued that the federal definition of marriage (between a man and a woman) bans gays and lesbians from marrying and is therefore unconstitutional.
The Equality Act is introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley, Tammy Baldwin, and Cory Booker, as well as Representative David Cicilline who formerly introduced The Equality Act, which would make LGBTQ individuals a protected class and grant them basic legal protections in areas of life including education, housing, employment, credit, and more. The Equality Act was re-introduced in 2021 but again failed. The Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Non-Discrimination law.
Meghan Stabler became the first openly transgender member of Planned Parenthood’s National Board of Directors on July 23, 2019. The Advocate editors named Meghan as one of The Advocate magazine’s 2019 Champions of Pride.
1 BCE, China
Emperor Ai of Han dies. He ascended the throne when he was 20, having been made heir by his uncle Emperor Cheng who was childless. He reigned from 7 to 1 BC. He’s one of ten emperors of the Western Han dynasty who are considered to be homosexual or bisexual by today’s terms and was famous for being the most effusive of the Han Dynasty. Traditional historians characterized the relationship between Emperor Ai and Dong Xian as one between homosexual lovers and referred to their relationship as “the passion of the cut sleeve.” Dong was noted for his relative simplicity contrasted with the highly ornamented court, and was given progressively higher and higher posts as part of the relationship, eventually becoming the supreme commander of the armed forces by the time of Emperor Ai’s death. Dong was afterward forced to die by suicide.
Aviator Amelia Earhart (July 24, 1897 – disappeared July 2, 1937) is born in Atchison, Kansas. A tomboy, preferring riding pants to dresses, and having a marriage that allowed for infidelity, we will never know if she was bisexual. Many lesbian historians claim her as one of their own. She certainly outrageously transgressed the gender expression boundaries of her time when women were not only not pilots, they also weren’t explorers, except, like the Shoshone heroine Sacajewea, in the service of or in partnership with men who got the credit.
British Labour Party politician Christopher Robert “Chris” Smith, Baron Smith of Finsbury (July 24, 1951) is born. He is a British politician and a peer; a former Member of Parliament (MP) and Cabinet Minister; and former chairman of the Environment Agency. For the majority of his career he was a Labour Party member. He was the first openly gay British MP, coming out in 1984, and in 2005, the first MP to acknowledge that he is HIV positive
Gus Van Sant, Jr. (born July 24, 1952) is an American film director, screenwriter, painter, photographer, musician and author who has earned acclaim as both an independent and more mainstream filmmaker. His films typically deal with themes of marginalized subcultures, in particular homosexuality; as such, Van Sant is considered one of the most prominent auteurs of the New Queer Cinema movement. He is openly gay and currently lives in Portland, Oregon.
The Gay Liberation Front, a radical leftist group addressing not only gay rights but other left-wing causes, is formed in New York City. Over the next few years dozens of local GLF chapters would form across the country.
Ronald E. Gay, a drifter, who told Roanoke, Va. police that jokes about his last name had angered him, was sentenced to four life terms for a shooting rampage in a gay bar that killed one man and wounded five other men and a woman. Gay, 55, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and six charges of malicious wounding in the shooting at the Backstreet Cafe in Roanoke. In court and in interviews with police, he said he was on a mission to kill homosexuals.
German Free Democratic Party leader Guido Westerwellen (December 27, 1961 – March 18, 2016) comes out in an interview with the country’s leading news magazine. He served as Foreign Minister in the second cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel and as Vice Chancellor of Germany from 2009 to 2011, being the first openly gay person to hold any of these positions. He was also the chairman of the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP) from May 2001 until he stepped down in 2011. He died of leukemia at the age of 54.
The first legal same-sex marriages are performed in New York. New York City records 659 marriages, a one-day record.
The First LGBT Pride march in Montenegro is held with violent protestors shouting “kill the gays.”
The Quist LGBT history app is created by Sarah Prager. Sarah is dedicated to raising awareness of LGBTQ history through writing, speaking, and her app, Quist. She lives with her wife Liz, and their daughter Eleanor in Connecticut. (I, for one, thank you, Sarah!…Ronni)
One of the greatest American painters of the 19th century, Thomas Eakins (July 25, 1844 – June 25, 1916) is born on this date. He was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important artists in American art history. No less important in Eakins’ life was his work as a teacher. As an instructor he was a highly influential presence in American art. The difficulties which beset him as an artist seeking to paint the portrait and figure realistically were paralleled and even amplified in his career as an educator, where behavioral and sexual scandals truncated his success and damaged his reputation. The nature of Eakins sexuality and its impact on his art is a matter of intense scholarly debate. Strong circumstantial evidence points to Eakins having been accused of homosexuality during his lifetime, and there is little doubt that he was attracted to men, as evidenced in his photography, and three major paintings where male buttocks are a focal point: The Gross Clinic, William Rush, and The Swimming Hole. The latter, in which Eakins appears, is increasingly seen as sensuous and autobiographical. Two years earlier Eakins’ sister Margaret, who had acted as his secretary and personal servant, had died of typhoid. It has been suggested that Eakins married Susan Hannah Macdowell to replace her. In the latter years of his life, Eakins’ constant companion was the handsome sculptor Samuel Murray, who shared his interest in boxing and bicycling.
James Miranda Steuart Barry (1789-July 25, 1865) dies in Kensal Green, England. It was only on his death that it was discovered Barry was a woman. For 40 years he was an officer and surgeon in the British Army in Canada and South Africa. Although Barry’s entire adult life was lived as a man, Barry was born Margaret Ann Bulkley and was known as female in childhood. Barry lived as a man in both public and private life, at least in part in order to be accepted as a university student and pursue a career as a surgeon, with Barry’s birth sex only becoming known to the public and to military colleagues after death. Barry held strict and unusually modern views about nutrition, being completely vegetarian and teetotal, and, while keeping most personal relationships distant, was very fond of pets, particularly a be-loved poodle named Psyche. Playwright Jean Binnie’s radio play Doctor Barry (BBC, 1982) identified John Joseph Danson as the black servant Barry first employed in South Africa and who remained with Barry until the doctor’s death. The play was re-broadcast as recently as 2018. Barry was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery under the name James Barry and full military rank.
Preacher-playwright-composer Alvin Allison “Al” Carmines, Jr. (July 25, 1936 – August 9, 2005) is born on this date. He was a key figure in the expansion of Off-Off-Broadway theatre in the 1960s. Carmines was hired by Howard Moody as an assistant minister at Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square Park, New York, to found a theater in the sanctuary of the Greenwich Village church in conjunction with playwright Robert Nichols. He began composing in 1962 and acted as well. His Bible study group grew into the Rauschenbusch Memorial United Church of Christ, with Carmines as pastor. Carmines taught at Union Theological Seminary and received the Vernon Rice Award for his performance and the Drama Desk Award for Lyrics and Music and was awarded the Obie award for LifeTime Achievements. His 1973 musical The Faggot was a success d’estime which transferred from the Judson Memorial Church to the Truck and Warehouse Theatre and ran for 203 performances. Carmines appeared in the show as Oscar Wilde.
Cheryl Christina Crane (born July 25, 1943), lesbian daughter of Lana Turner, is born. Cheryl is Turner’s child from her marriage to actor-restaurateur Stephen Crane, Turner’s second husband who murdered her mother’s boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato in 1958. In 1988, Crane published a memoir entitled Detour: A Hollywood Story (1988) in which she discussed the Stompanato killing publicly for the first time and admitted to the stabbing. She further alleged that she was subject to a series of sexual as-saults at the hands of her stepfather and her mother’s fourth husband, actor Lex Barker. The book became a New York Times Best Seller. In it, Crane also publicly revealed how at age thirteen she had come out as a lesbian to her parents. In November 2014, Crane married model Joyce LeRoy, her longtime partner, after having been together for over four decades.
The Vatican issues a statement reminding the faithful that the Roman Catholic Church considers homosexuality a moral aberration. The Vatican confirms its condemnation of homosexuality stating that it is a “moral aberration that cannot be approved by human conscience.”
A Chorus Line premiers on Broadway. It is directed and choreographed by Michael Bennet (1943-1987) and won nine of twelve Tony nominations in addition to the 1975 Pulitzer for drama.
Hundreds of demonstrators show up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to protest location shooting for William Friedkin’s new film Cruising which deals with a series of grisly mutilation murders within the city’s gay leather community.
A spokesperson for Rock Hudson (November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985) acknowledges that the actor is suffering from AIDS. Later, media reports openly discuss his homosexuality for the first time. The publicity given his illness marks a turning point in building public awareness of the threat of AIDS and in galvanizing support for efforts to fight the disease.
The French Parliament amends the penal code to prohibit discrimination based on “moral habits,” one of which is homosexuality. France is the first country to legislate gay and lesbian rights.
Studio 54 creator Steve Rubell (December 2, 1943 – July 25, 1989) dies of complications from AIDS.
Mick Jagger (born 26 July 1943) is born in Dartford, England. Androgynous, gender defiant, and ambisexual, Jagger has come to symbolize rock from the 60s and 70s. Look-alike ex-wife Bianca once claimed he married her because “he wanted to achieve the ultimate by making love to himself.”
Kevin Spacey (born July 26, 1959) is an American actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and singer. He began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s before obtaining supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical acclaim in the early 1990s that culminated in his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the neo-noir crime thriller The Usual Suspects (1995), and an Academy Award for Best Actor for the midlife crisis-themed drama American Beauty (1999). In October 2017, actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making a sexual advance toward him when Rapp was 14. In the wake of Rapp’s accusation, numerous other men alleged that Spacey had sexually harassed or assaulted them. As a result, Netflix cut all ties with him, shelved his film Gore and removed him from the cast of the last season of House of Cards.
Andrew Gillum (born July 26, 1979) is born. In a September appearance on The Tamron Hall Show, the former Florida gubernatorial candidate came out as bisexual. Gillum, who ran for Florida governor in 2018, appeared on the show alongside his wife, R. Jai, who said her husband of 11 years has been upfront with her about his sexuality.
The Advocate magazine first mentions “bears” in print. Bears are “usually hunky chunky types reminiscent of railroad engineers and former football greats.” Bears are one of many LGBT communities with events, codes, and a culture-specific identity. However, in San Francisco in the 1970s, any hairy man of whatever shape was referred to as a ‘bear’ until the term was appropriated by larger men as well. The term bear was popularized by Richard Bulger, who, along with his then partner Chris Nelson (1960-2006) founded Bear Magazine in 1987. There is some contention surrounding whether Bulger originated the term and the subculture’s conventions. George Mazzei wrote an article for The Advocatein 1979 called “Who’s Who in the Zoo?” that characterized gay men as seven types of animals, including bears. The International Bear Brotherhood Flag is the pride flag of the bear community, created by Craig Byrnes in 1995.
Dr. Jeanette Howard Foster (November 3, 1895 – July 26, 1981), author of Variant Women in Literature, dies on this date in Arkansas. Dr. Foster was an American librarian, professor, poet, and researcher in the field of lesbian literature. She pioneered the study of popular fiction and ephemera in order to excavate both overt and covert lesbian themes. Her years of pioneering data collection culminated in her 1956 study Sex Variant Women in Literature which has become a seminal resource in LGBT studies. Initially self-published by Foster via Vantage Press, it was photoduplicated and reissued in 1975 by Diana Press and reissued in 1985 by Naiad Press with updating additions and commentary by Barbara Grier (November 4, 1933 – November 10, 2011).
U.S. Senators Pete Wilson (R-CA) and Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY) attempt to hold a briefing on AIDS for Republican senators. Not a single Senator shows up for it.
Richard Akuson (born July 26, 1993) is a Nigerian lawyer, LGBT rights activist, writer, editor, and the founder of A Nasty Boy magazine, Nigeria’s first LGBTQ+ publication. In 2019, Richard was named one of Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 change-makers for challenging rigid notions of masculinity, gender, and sexuality in Nigeria where homosexual acts can be punished with 14 years in prison. In 2017, he was nominated for the Future Awards, Africa’s New Media Innovation Award. Richard is also a two-time Abryanz Style & Fashion Award Best Fashion Writer nominee. Following the launch of A Nasty Boy magazine in 2017, Richard was named one of the 40 Most Powerful Nigerians under the age of 40.
In a response to political outcries over a Robert Mapplethorpe (November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) exhibit, Jesse Helms leads a fight in the U.S. Senate to curtail National Endowment for the Arts funding for “obscene or indecent art,” including artworks that depict “sadomasochism, homoeroticism, the exploitation of children, or individuals engaged in sex acts.” The measure was overwhelmingly adopted.
President George H. W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act which prohibits discrimination against various groups of people including those living with AIDS.
Fox News host/homophobe Bill O’Reilly apologizes on the air for errors in a widely criticized June 21st segment that reported a “nationwide epidemic” of violent lesbian gangs terrorizing neighborhoods and schools. O’Reilly was fired in 2017 for sexual harassment.
Land O’Lakes named Beth Ford its first female CEO, making her the first openly gay woman CEO to run a Fortune 500 company.
Author Henry James (15 April 1843 – 28 February 1916) wrote to Hendrik C. Andersen, “I’ve struck up a tremendous intimacy with Conte Alberto, and we literally can’t live without each other. He is the first object my eyes greet in the morning, and the last at night.” James was an American-born British writer. He is regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr. and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James. As more material became available to scholars, including the diaries of contemporaries and hundreds of affectionate and sometimes erotic letters written by James to younger men, the picture gave way to a portrait of a closeted homosexual. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Epistemology of the Closet made a landmark difference to Jamesian scholarship by arguing that he be read as a homosexual writer whose desire to keep his sexuality a secret shaped his layered style and dramatic artistry.
Radclyffe Hall’s (12 August 1880 – 7 October 1943) The Well of Loneliness is published in the UK by Jonathan Cape. It’s one of the first to portray lesbianism as natural. It follows the life of Stephen Gordon, an English woman from an upper-class family whose “sexual inversion” (homosexuality) is apparent from an early age. She finds love with Mary Llewellyn, whom she meets while serving as an ambulance driver in World War I, but their happiness together is marred by social isolation and rejection, which Hall depicts as typically suffered by “inverts,” with predictably debilitating effects. The novel portrays “inversion” as a natural, God-given state and makes an explicit plea: “Give us also the right to our existence.” Although The Well of Loneliness is not sexually explicit, it was nevertheless the subject of an obscenity trial in the UK, which resulted in all copies of the novel being ordered destroyed. The United States allowed its publication only after a long court battle. It is currently published in the UK by Virago, and by Anchor Press in the United States. The Well of Loneliness was number seven on a list of the top 100 lesbian and gay novels compiled by The Publishing Triangle in 1999.
The Rev. Troy Perry (July 27, 1940), founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, is born. The Metropolitan Community Church, a Christian denomination with a special affirming ministry with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, is formed in Los Angeles on October 6, 1968. In March 2017, Perry became the first Ameri-can citizen honored with Cuba’s CENESEX award. The 10th Cuban Gala Against Homophobia and Transphobia, held at the Karl Marx Theater in Havana, Cuba, was the setting where nearly 5,000 people gathered to honor Rev. Perry, including the US, French, Swiss ambassadors, as well as the Minister of Culture of Cuba. Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, and a member of the country’s National Assembly, and Director of CENESEX, presented the award. He was given the award for his long history of working for human rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community worldwide. He re-mains active in public speaking and writing. Perry lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Phillip Ray DeBlieck, whom he married under Canadian law at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. They sued the State of California upon their return home after their Toronto wedding for recognition of their marriage and won. The state appealed. and the ruling was overturned by the State Supreme Court after five years in their favor.
Stephen Donaldson (July 27, 1946 – July 18, 1996) is born Robert Anthony Martin, Jr. and also known by the pseudonym Donny the Punk. He was an American bisexual political activist. He is best known for his pioneering activism in LGBT rights and prison reform, and for his writing about punk rock and subculture. In 1966, Donaldson fell in love with a woman, Judith “JD Rabbit” Jones (whom he later considered his “lifetime companion”) and began identifying as bisexual. His “growing feeling of discomfort with biphobia in the homophile/gay liberation movement was a major factor” in his deciding to quit the movement and enlist in the Navy after graduating from Columbia in 1970. After a series of meetings, the Committee of Friends on Bisexuality was formed, with Donaldson (using the name Bob Martin) as its chair until he left the Quakers in 1977. Donaldson was involved in the New York bisexual movement in the mid-1970s, appearing in 1974 on a New York Gay Activists Alliance panel with Kate Millet. Donaldson propounded the belief that ultimately bisexuality would be perceived as much more threatening to the prevailing sexual order than homosexuality, because it potentially subverted everyone’s identity (the idea that everyone is potentially bisexual was widespread) and could not, unlike exclusive homosexuality, be confined to a segregated, stigmatized and therefore manageable ghetto. Donaldson died of AIDS in 1996 at the age of 49. After Donaldson’s death, the Columbia Queer Alliance renamed its student lounge in his honor.
Britain decriminalizes homosexuality between consenting adults in private, except for those in the military and police forces. The new law makes the age of consent 21 years old.
The Gay Liberation Front organizes a protest of police harassment, with an estimated 300-400 people participating. It was the one-month anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
The term AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is proposed at a meeting in Washington of gay community leaders, federal bureaucrats and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to replace GRID (gay-related immune deficiency) as evidence showed it was not gay specific.
Sports Illustrated published a five-page tribute to Dr. Tom Waddell (November 1, 1937 – July 11, 1987), Olympic decathlete and organizer of the Gay Games, who had recently died from complications of AIDS. Waddell was the first gay man to be featured with his lover in the “couples” section of People magazine. He was a U.S. Army paratrooper, a physician specializing in the treatment of infectious disease, a gymnastics champion at Springfield College in Massachusetts, and the personal physician to the brother of the King of Saudi Arabia.
The Houston, Texas City Council approves an ordinance outlawing discrimination against gay men and lesbians in hiring by city agencies.
Osvaldo Ramon Lopez (Sept. 4, 1971), the first openly gay congressperson, takes office in Argentina.
World champion power lifter Janae Marie Kroc (formerly Matt Kroczaleski) (born December 8, 1972) comes out as transgender and genderfluid. Janae began entering powerlifting contests after joining the Marines in 1991. In 2017, after 18 months on estrogen, her performance was reduced to 210 pounds for 10 reps and deadlifted 605 pounds. Kroc is a world champion and a National Physique Committee bodybuilder.
Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates announces “the national executive board ratified a resolution removing the national restriction on openly gay leaders and employees.”
600 B.C., Greece
The Greek poet Theognis is born near Athens. He was an aristocrat who lost his wealth and property during one of the many civil wars of the period and turned to writing, penning most of his works for his lover Cyrnus.
Walter Hungerford (born 1503 – July 28, 1540), First Baron Hungerford of Heytesbury, is the first person executed under the Buggery Act of 1533.
Artist Michelangelo (March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564) wrote to Tommaso Cavaleri, “I could as easily forget your name as the food by which I live; nay, it would be easier to forget the food, which only nourishes my body, than your name, which nourishes both body and soul.”
1928, The Netherlands
Opening of the 1928 Olympics where French athlete Violette Morris (April 18, 1893 – April 26, 1944) had been barred from competing because she was a lesbian and because she and her female lover made their affair public. Morris won two gold and one silver medals at the Women’s World Games in 1921-1922. She underwent a double mastectomy to fit into race cars more easily. Starting in 1936 she worked with the Gestapo during World War II. She was killed in 1944 in a Resistance-led ambush as a traitor to the French state.
Sarah Schulman (born July 28, 1958) is an American novelist, playwright, nonfiction writer, screenwriter and AIDS historian. She is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the College of Staten Island (CSI) and a Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities. In 1992, Schulman and five others co-founded the Lesbian Avengers, a direct action organization. On her 1992 book tour for Empathy, Schulman visited gay bookstores in the South to start chapters of Lesbian Avengers. The organization’s high points included founding the Dyke March and sending groups of young organizers to Maine and Idaho to assist local fights against anti-gay ballot initiatives. In 2017, she joined the advisory board of Claudia Rankine’s Racial Imaginary Institute.
Illinois becomes the first U.S. state to repeal its sodomy law.
The San Francisco Department of Health reports an outbreak of GI disorders, especially shigellosis and amoebic dysentery, among gay men.
Bobbi Campbell (January 28, 1952 – August 15, 1984) is the 16th person to be diagnosed with Kaposi’s sarcoma and possibly the first to be open about his diagnosis even before GRID (gay related immune disease ) or HIV/AIDS had been named. Robert Boyle “Bobbi” Campbell Jr. was a public health nurse and an early AIDS activist. In 1983, he co-wrote the Denver Principles, the defining manifesto of the People with AIDS Self-Empowerment Movement which he had co-founded the previous year. Appearing on the cover of Newsweek and being interviewed on national news reports, Campbell raised the national profile of the AIDS crisis among heterosexuals and provided a recognizable, optimistic, human face of the epidemic for affected communities.
The first AIDS Walk is held in Los Angeles. Craig Miller and AIDS Project LA produce the fundraiser that attracts 4500 walkers.
Gov. George Deukmejian of California vetoes a bill that would have protected people with AIDS from discrimination in housing and employment.
Gay filmmaker Arthur Bressan, Jr. (1943 – July 28,1987) dies of complications from AIDS. All of his films were low budget productions and dealt with gay characters and storylines. Buddies was one of the first feature films to deal with AIDS.
William Cruse is sentenced to death for a shooting spree in Palm Bay, Florida, that left six people dead and ten injured. He said he did it because his neighbors were spreading rumors that he was a homosexual.
Jonathan Harvey’s (born 13 June 1968) influential play about two working-class teenage boys who fall in love, Beautiful Thing, premiers at London’s Bush Theater.
New Zealand becomes the seventh country in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The city council of Evanston, Illinois votes unanimously to extend anti-discrimination protection to transgendered people.
Judge John Frusciante, a Broward County Circuit Court judge, upholds Florida’s ban on adoption by same-sex couples.
A constitution approved by the Fiji government went into effect that granted constitutional protection to gay and lesbian citizens. Opponents claimed it would result in an increase in homosexuality.
The Miami Beach City Council unanimously votes to create a domestic partner registry.
Serbian Parliament approves change in health insurance law to subsidize sex reassignment surgery.
Sarah McBride (born on August 9, 1990) is the first openly transgender person to speak at a major party convention in the U.S., the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. McBride made national headlines when she came out as transgender to her college while serving as student body president at American University. McBride is largely credited with the passage of legislation in Delaware banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, housing, insurance, and public accommodations. In August 2014, McBride married her then-boyfriend Andrew Cray after he received a terminal cancer diagnosis. Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson (born May 29, 1947) presided at their ceremony. Four days after their nuptials, Cray died from cancer. In 2018, Sarah released the book Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality.
The European Union announced its decision to stop the funding of six Polish towns that boast of being “LGBT-Free Zones.” According to CNN, the six Polish towns that were denied funds had applied to join the EU’s twinning program. The program aims at fostering “peaceful relations” and “mutual understanding” between European citizens. It provides funds of up to ‚Ç¨25,000 ($29,000) to the members on the condition that it is made accessible to all without any discrimination. Since 2019, one-third of Polish towns have declared themselves to be “free from LGBT ideology”
Four men are burned at the stake for sodomy because a Franciscan friar, Luis Castelloli, preached that God’s wrath for sodomy was the plague.
Dag Hammarskjold (July 29, 1905 – September, 18 1961) is born in Jonkoping, Sweden. Secretary of the United Nations during its most turbulent years, he died in a plane crash in Africa. A Swedish diplomat, he was the second Secretary General (leader) of the United Nations. After his death, he would be awarded a Nobel Prize. Hammarskjold was not out about his sexual orientation during his lifetime; that would have been unheard of at that time in history. According to OutSmart magazine, “[Hammarskjold’s] diary, Markings, published posthumously in 1966, alluded to homosexual longings, perhaps never fulfilled.”
Tim Gunn (July 29, 1953), fashion guru, is born. He served on the faculty of Parsons, The New School for Design, from 1982 to 2007 and was chair of fashion design at the school from August 2000 to March 2007, after which he joined Liz Claiborne as its chief creative officer. For over 15 seasons, Gunn has become well known as the on-air mentor to designers on the television program Project Runway. In 2014, he participated in Do I Sound Gay?, a documentary film by David Thorpe about stereotypes of gay men’s speech patterns.
Out actor Kevin Spirtas (July 29, 1962) is born. Spirtas is best known for his roles as Dr. Craig Wesley on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, Jonas Chamberlain on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, and as Nick in the slasher film Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988). Spirtas has worked on Broadway with roles including Hugh Jackman’s understudy in The Boy from Oz and has also worked as a stunt performer. He began using the name Kevin Spirtas professionally in 1995, having been previously credited as Kevin Blair.
Ian Campbell Dunn (May 1, 1943 – March 10, 1998) was a gay rights campaigner who lived and worked in Scotland. Dunn began his work in gay rights activism after finding that the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalized homosexual relations between adult men, applied only to England and Wales and not to Scotland. On this day, he wrote to Antony Grey (6 October 1927 – 30 April 2010), secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society in London, about establishing a chapter in Scotland. Grey refused.
The Annual Conference of the Metropolitan Community Church was held in Dallas, Texas. Among the speakers was Elaine Noble (born January 22, 1944), who was the first person to be elected to a state legislature (MA) while running as an open lesbian.
The Village People’s first major hit Macho Man disco single debuts and eventually goes gold.
The Chicago City Council defeats a gay rights bill by a vote of 30-18.
President Reagan nominated homophobic judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. He was rejected by the Senate 58-42.
World renowned and arguably the best ever American choreographer Jerome Robbins (October 11, 1918 – July 29, 1998) dies. Robbins was bisexual, though he was always ashamed of it, according to biographers. He had relationships with a number of people, from Montgomery Clift (Octo-ber 17, 1920 – July 23, 1966) and Nora Kaye to Buzz Miller (December 23, 1923-February 23, 1999) and Jess Gerstein. He never married. Among his numerous stage productions he worked on were On the Town, Peter Pan, High Button Shoes, The King And I, The Pajama Game, Bells Are Ringing, West Side Story, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof. Robbins was a five-time Tony Award winner and a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. He received two Academy Awards, including the 1961 Academy Award for Best Director with Robert Wise for West Side Story. In 1950, Robbins was called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), suspected of Communist sympathies. Robbins, though willing to confess to past party membership, resisted naming names of others with similar political connections; he held out for three years until, according to two family members in whom he confided, he was threatened with public exposure of his homosexuality. On the evening of his death, the lights of Broadway were dimmed for a moment in tribute.
The Wyoming Supreme Court rejects a final appeal by Matthew Shepard’s killer Russell Henderson to have his sentence reduced. Matthew Wayne “Matt” Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was an American student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6, 1998. Six days later, he died from severe head injuries at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Aerospace manufacturer Raytheon adds transgender to its anti-discrimination policy.
Same-sex sexual activity is decriminalized.
The Alan Turing Rainbow Festival in Madurai hosts Asia’s first gender-queer Pride Parade.
The National Assembly adds homosexuality to a list of “fleaux sociaux” (social plagues) that the government is charged to combat.
The New York lesbian bar Kooky’s made it known that lesbians working for gay liberation were not welcome. Lesbians gathered to picket. Kooky’s was one of only two lesbian-oriented bars in New York City. Kooky, the bar owner, was said to be hostile to the gay liberation movement, fearing it would cut into her business. Kooky’s closed in the 1970s. Today it’s La Nueva Rampa.
Martina Navratilova (born October 18, 1956) is outed by a New York Daily News article. The article is called “Martina Fears Avon’s Call If She Talks.” Navratilova had spoken months earlier with the writer of the article about her sexual relationship with Rita Mae Brown (November 28, 1944), and Navratilova had asked him not to go public. He quotes her in the article: “If I come out and start talking, women’s tennis is going to be hurt. I have heard that if I come out, if one more top player talks about this, then Avon will pull out as a sponsor.” Avon pulled out as a sponsor the next year.
U.S. President George W. Bush says he supports “codifying marriage in the United States as being between one man and one woman.
Canadian swimmer Mark Tewksbury (born February 7, 1968) won an Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke. He would come out six years later.
The Gay and Lesbian OutGiving Fund, a project of the Gill Foundation, pledged $100,000 to help the victims of flooding in Ft. Collins, Colorado.
Massachusetts Governor Paul Celluci announces that he would veto a domestic partnership bill which would have given equal health insurance benefits to all Boston city employees.
Dr. Joep M. A. Lange of the University of Amsterdam reported the successful results of a study using a five-drug combination regimen to combat AIDS.
After battling a San Francisco ordinance, United Airlines announced it would offer domestic partner benefits.
Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry, in a speech to the party convention in Boston, blasted President Bush for pushing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man returned to the LGBT Pride parade to commit the same 2005 crime of attacking several marchers. After being released just three weeks prior from a 10-year prison sentence for his first crime, Yishai Schlissel returned to the 2015 parade and stabbed six people, killing one. Schlissel reportedly told police he went to the parade “to kill in the name of God.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack as “a most serious incident.” Israel’s LGBT community was the target of a 2009 attack in Tel Aviv where a gunman opened fire at a center for young gays, killing two people and wounding 15 others. Israel has relatively liberal gay rights policies, despite the ultra-Orthodox community’s hostility. The Jewish state repealed a ban on consensual same-sex sexual acts in 1988.
Pope Paul V orders the confiscation of 105 paintings from the artist Cavaleiere d’Arpino who had been unable to pay his taxes. Among the paintings was Caravaggio’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit, an overtly homoerotic image of a youth extending both a basket of fruit and his tongue seductively toward the viewer. Art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon has said: A lot has been made of Caravaggio’s presumed homosexuality, which has in more than one previous account of his life been presented as the single key that explains everything, both the power of his art and the misfortunes of his life.
Nels Anderson (July 31, 1889 – October 8, 1986) is born. He was an early American sociologist who studied hobos, urban culture, and work culture. The word fag is first used in print in reference to gays in Nels Anderson’s 1923 monograph The Hobo: Fairies or Fags, defining the words as men or boys who exploit sex for profit. Anderson studied at the University of Chicago under Robert E. Park and Ernest Burgess, whose Concentric zone model was one of the earliest models developed to explain the organization of urban areas. Anderson’s The Hobo was a work that helped pioneer participant observation as a research method to reveal the features of a society and was the first field research monograph of the famed Chicago School of Sociology, marking a significant milepost in the discipline of Sociology.
Barbara Gittings (July 31, 1932 – February 18, 2007), one of the pioneers of gay and lesbian activism, is born. She organized the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) from 1958 to 1963, edited the national DOB magazine from 1963-66, and worked closely with Frank Kameny (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011) in the 1960s on the first picket lines that brought attention to the ban on employment of gay people by the largest employer in the U.S. at that time: the United States government. Her early experiences with trying to learn more about lesbianism fueled her life-time work with libraries. In the 1970s, Gittings was most involved in the American Library Association, especially its gay caucus, the first such in a professional organization, in order to promote positive literature about homosexuality in libraries. She was a part of the movement to get the American Psychiatric Association to drop homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973. Her self-described life mission was to tear away the “shroud of invisibility” related to homosexuality which had theretofore been associated with crime and mental illness.
Susan Flannery (born July 31, 1939) is an American actress known for her roles in the daytime dramas The Bold and the Beautiful and Days of Our Lives. She and actress Fannie Flagg (September 21, 1944) had been together for eight years. The cracks in their relationship widened under the pressure. Many of Susan and Fannie’s friends knew they were lovers.
The German Reich Commissar of the occupied Netherlands territories makes all sexual activities between men illegal.
The first lesbian and gay protest of the Pentagon happens on this day. Twelve male and four female veterans of the armed services picket the Pentagon to protest discrimination in the military. Coverage airs on CBS in Washington that evening.
Openly gay Australian Ian Roberts (born 31 July 1965) is born. He is an actor, model and former professional rugby league footballer of the 1980s and 1990s. A New South Wales State of Origin and Australian international representative forward, he played club football with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Wigan Warriors, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and North Queensland Cowboys. In 1995 Roberts became the first high-profile Australian sports person and first rugby footballer in the world to come out to the public as gay.
The first meeting of the Gay Liberation Front was held in New York City at Alternative University. Gay militants separate from the more moderate homophile movement come together to form a counterculture-inspired group. The meeting was advertised with a leaflet which read, DO YOU THINK HOMOSEXUALS ARE REVOLTING? YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS WE ARE. About 50 people attended.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that gay and bisexual men account for one third of all cases of syphilis in the US.
Dykes on Bikes is founded. A group of lesbians on motorcycles comes together to lead the 1976 San Francisco Pride Parade. Founder Soni S.H.S. Wolf (September 1948-April 25, 2018) was to be the Community Grand Marshal during the San Francisco Pride parade in 2018. Unfortunately, Wolf passed away in April 2018. Her close friends represented her in the 2018 parade by carrying the custom-painted motorcycle tank from the bike she rode during the inaugural ride in 1976.Chapters of the club have been leading Pride Parades around the world ever since.
Jeff Levi, executive director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), addressed the U.S. Senate during hearings on the nomination of William Rehnquist to the Supreme Court. Strom Thurmond questioned him on why NGLTF doesn’t work for something constructive such as changing homosexuals into heterosexuals.
Urvashi Vaid (October 8 1958-May 14, 2022) replaces Jeff Levi as the executive director of the NGLTF. Urvashi is an Indian-American LGBT rights activist. In April 2009 Out magazine named her one of the 50 most influential LGBT people in the United States. Vaid shares homes in Manhattan and Province-town, Massachusetts with her partner, comedian Kate Clinton.
Jamie Nabozny (born October 1975) wins nearly a million dollars in the first ever case of a gay teen suing school officials for failing to protect him from years of horrendous abuse. (Nabozny v. Podlesny) The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rules that a public school and individual school employees may be held liable under federal equal protection law for failing to respond to the anti-gay abuse of a student by other students.
Kristina Sheffield and Rachel Horsham, both male-to-female transgender people, lost a legal battle to be recognized as women under English law when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the British government had not violated their rights by refusing to issue them new birth certificates or by refusing to allow them to marry men.
Simone Wallace (born 1945) and Adele Wallace close their Sisterhood Bookstore in Los Angeles. Founded in 1972, it operated at the intersection of Westwood and Rochester near UCLA. Sisterhood was so much more than a bookstore; it was a community center which supported women for decades. Its books are now in the June Mazer Archives.
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa warns Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien that if he continues to support same-sex marriage he could be denied the sacraments.
2005, The Netherlands
The Netherlands halted the extradition of gays back to Iran following re-ports of gay executions.
Gore Vidal (October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012) dies. He was an American writer and public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and polished style of writing. As a public intellectual, Gore Vidal was identified with the liberal politicians and the progressive social causes of the Democratic Party. In 1960, he was the Democratic candidate for Congress, for the 29th Congressional District of New York State, a usually Republican district on the Hudson River, but lost the election to the Republican candidate J. Ernest Wharton, by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent. In 1950, Gore Vidal met Howard Austen (January 28, 1929 – September 22, 2003) who became his life-partner in a 53-year relationship. In 2010, Vidal began to suffer from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder often caused by chronic alcoholism. On July 31, 2012 Vidal died of pneumonia at his home in the Hollywood Hills at the age of 86.