March 1



The Plymouth Colony Court heard a case brought against Edward Michell and Edward Preston for “lewd & sodomitical practices tending to sodomy.”


The earliest known conviction for lesbian activity in North America occurs on this day when Sarah White Norman (ca. 1623-1654) is charged with “Lewd behaviour with each other upon a bed” with Mary Vincent Hammon (1633-1705) in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Since Mary was younger than 16 years old, she was only admonished, but Sarah, probably 10 years older, stood trial. Originally, Richard Berry (1626-1681), a neighbor, accused the two women and one man, Teage Joanes, of sodomy and other unclean practices. Later Berry said he had borne false witness against Joanes but he did not withdraw what he said against Sarah White Norman. Much later, the same Berry and other men, including Joanes, were prosecuted for homosexuality and ordered to “part their uncivil living together”.



The New Haven, CT law is the first in the American colonies to make same-sex acts between women punishable by the death penalty. The code quotes Romans 1:26 – “if any woman change the natural use into that which is against nature” – as the basis for the law.


1880, UK

Giles Lytton Strachey (1 March 1880 – 21 January 1932) is born. He was a British writer and critic. A founding member of the Bloomsbury Group and author of Eminent Victorians, he is best known for establishing a new form of biography in which psychological insight and sympathy are combined with irreverence and wit. His biography Queen Victoria(1921) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Though Strachey spoke openly about his homosexuality with his Bloomsbury friends, and had relationships with a variety of men including Ralph Partridge (1894 – 30 November 1960), details of Strachey’s sexuality were not widely known until the publication of a biography by Michael Holroyd in the late 1960s. His sister was a lesbian.



Boston district attorney Oliver Stevens calls Walt Whitman’s  (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) Leaves of Grass obscene literature and suggest some poems be removed. It doesn’t happen.



Mercedes de Acosta (March 1, 1893 – May 9, 1968) is born. She was an American poet, playwright, and novelist. De Acosta wrote almost a dozen plays only four of which were produced, and she published a novel and three volumes of poetry. She was professionally unsuccessful but is known for her many lesbian affairs with famous Broadway and Hollywood personalities and numerous friendships with prominent artists of the period. But as Alice B. Toklas (April 30, 1877 – March 7, 1967), lover of Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946), and de Acosta’s long-term friend, wrote to a disapproving critic, “Say what you will about Mercedes, she’s had the most important women of the twentieth century.”


Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) records the song “B-D Woman” in praise of ‘bulldaggers,’ perhaps the first popular release to pay tribute to butch lesbians.



Blueboy Forum, which bills itself as the U.S.’s first gay-oriented TV show, debuts on New York cable.


1978, Canada

The Toronto Lambda Business Council is incorporated. It was the first association of gay businesses in Canada.



Leslie Feinberg’s (September 1, 1949 – November 15, 2014) Stone Butch Blues is published. It goes on to win the 1994 Stonewall Book Award. The story is about a young Jewish working-class butch protagonist and highlights butch-femme culture. Feinberg was an American, butch lebian and transgender activist, communist, and author. Her writing and her pioneering non-fiction book Transgender Warriors (1996) laid the groundwork for much of the terminology and awareness around gender studies and was instrumental in bringing these issues to a more mainstream audience.



The Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association founds the International Journal of Transgenderism, published by Haworth Press.


2008, Nicaragua

Nicaragua legalizes same-sex sexual activity.


2011, Portugal

The Portugal President signs the most advanced gender identity law in the world, simplifying the process of sex and name changes.



Maryland passes legislation to legalize same-sex marriage, becoming the eighth state to do so.



March 2



Marc Blitzstein (March 2, 1905 – January 22, 1964) is born in Philadelphia. He wrote the definitive Depression Era opera “The Cradle Will Rock” in 1936. His English version of “Three Penny Opera” ran for years on Broadway. Blitzstein was openly gay.


1975, Canada

In Toronto an Ontario Human Rights Code review committee was established to consider gay protections for gays and lesbians.



Wisconsin becomes the first U.S. state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.



The FDA licenses the first HIV blood test.


1996, Australia

Robert James Brown (born 27 December 1944), representing Tasmania, is elected to the Australian Senate. He was the first openly gay member of the Parliament of Australia, and the first openly gay leader of an Australian political party.



Jason West, mayor of New Paltz, New York, is charged with 19 criminal counts of solemnizing same-sex marriages in his town without a license.


March 3



Don Kilhefner (born March 3, 1938) is born. He founded and co-founded multiple gay organizations including the Radical Faeries and the LA Community Services Center (now the Los Angeles LGBT Center). He was among the first volunteers in the Peace Corps in 1962. As a response to what he believed was an assimilationist attitude in the mainstream gay rights movement, he co-founded the spiritual/countercultural Radical Faeries movement. This loose network explored queer consciousness, one that Kilhefner believed was fundamentally different than that of heterosexuals. He wrote a column for Frontiers, Southern California largest gay newspaper, called “Edging Out: Exploring the Frontiers of Gay Consciousness” with Don Kilhefner.


1973, Luxembourg

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (born 3 March 1973) is born today. He and architect Gauthier Destenay entered into a civil partnership in 2010 and married on May 5, 2015 after Luxembourg’s legislators approved same-sex marriage. Bettel became the first openly gay Prime Minister in December 2013, after an election campaign in which his sexuality was not a secret nor an issue. Bette previously served as Mayor of Luxembourg City, member of the Chamber of Deputies and member of the Luxembourg City communal council. Bettel is a member of the Democratic Party. He is the third openly gay head of government following Iceland’s Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (2009–2013) and Belgium’s Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo (2011–2014). Leo Varadkar (born 18 January 1979) joined this list as the prime minister of Ireland in 2017.



The organization Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force is founded. Its purpose is to work toward equal rights for LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants and binational couples, equal immigration, and asylum.  It was first convened in 1993 by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and The Center , and is advocating the reform of discriminatory immigration laws in the USA.



Congress approves a law signed in December, 2009, that legalizes same-sex marriage in the Washington, D.C.


March 4



Jean O’Leary (March 4, 1948 – June 4, 2005) was an American LGBT rights activist. She was the founder of Lesbian Feminist Liberation, one of the first lesbian activist groups in the women’s movement, and was an early member and co-director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. She co-founded National Coming Out Day with Rob Ekberg. Before becoming a lesbian and gay rights activist, she was a Roman Catholic Religious Sister. She would later write about her experience in the 1985 anthology, Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence by Rosemary Curb (1940 – May 26, 2012) and Nancy Manahan (born 1946). O’Leary died on Saturday, June 4, 2005, in San Clemente, California of lung cancer, at age 57. She is survived by her partner, Lisa Phelps, their daughter Victoria, their son David de Maria , his life partner James Springer, and David’s and James’ son, Aiden de Maria.


1952, Canada

Svend Robinson (born March 4, 1952) is a Canadian former politician. He was a member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons from 1979 to 2004, representing the suburban Vancouver-area constituency of Burnaby for the New Democratic Party. When he chose not to run again in the June 2004 election, he was one of the longest-serving members in the House of Commons, having been elected and re-elected for seven consecutive terms. He is noted as the first member of Parliament in Canadian history to come out as gay while in office. In April, 2004, shortly before 2004 election, Robinson admitted to the theft of an expensive ring from a public auction site. He turned himself in to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Robinson was charged and pleaded guilty. The Crown and defense agreed that he was undergoing major personal stress and mental health issues at the time; Robinson was given a discharge, meaning that he would have no criminal record, but he volunteered for some time at the Burnaby Wildlife Centre as part of a public service commitment. He terminated his candidacy and was replaced by his longtime constituency assistant Bill Siksay, who won the election. Robinson was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from cyclothymia, a form of bipolar disorder, and began to speak as an activist on mental health issues.



The word “Lesbian” is heard for the first time in the Hollywood movie The Group. The Group is a 1966 ensemble film directed by Sidney Lumet based on the novel of the same name by Mary McCarthy about the lives a group of eight female graduates from a Vassar-like college South Tower from 1933 to 1940. The cast of this social satire included Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett, Elizabeth Hartman, Shirley Knight, Jessica Walter, Kathleen Widdoes, and Joanna Pettet. The film also features small roles for Hal Holbrook, Carrie Nye, James Broderick, Larry Hagman and Richard Mulligan. For its time, the film touched on controversial topics, such as free love, contraception, abortion, lesbianism, and mental illness.



Village Voice columnist Jill Johnston (May 17, 1929 – September 18, 2010) comes out in her article Lois Lane is a Lesbian, sparking a controversy between feminism and lesbianism that results in various Johnston antics including simulating an orgy during a panel discussion moderated by Norman Mailer. Jill was an American feminist author and cultural critic who wrote Lesbian in 1973 and was a longtime writer for The Village Voice. She was also a leader of the lesbian separatist movement of the 1970s.



The California DMV reports that while the majority of the 65,000 vanity license plates have presented no censorship issues for the department, a few plates, including “HOMO”, “GAYLIB”, “EAT ME”, and “LOVE69″ have been banned.



Two weeks after the National Organization for Women passed a resolution establishing the fight for lesbian rights as a “top priority,” feminist Betty Friedan publicly accuses “man-hating” lesbians of trying to take over the organization.


1975, Canada

Eighteen gay men, the owner and customers of an Ottawa model agency and dating service, are arrested and charged with sexual offences in what became known as “Ottawa sex scandal.” Names are released by police and published by the press. Police allege “homosexual vice ring.”



Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes are nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for producing Strong Island, which Ford directed. As such, Ford was the first openly transgender man to be nominated for any Academy Award, and the first openly transgender director to be nominated for any Academy Award. Strong Island is about the murder of his brother William Ford, which occurred in 1992. Yance Ford is an African American transgender producer and director. Ford graduated from Hamilton College in 1994, and beginning in 2002, he worked as a series producer at PBS for ten years. In 2011, he was named one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. He also received the 2011–2012 Fledgling Fund Fellowship at MacDowell. In 2017 he was #97 on The Root 100, an annual list of the most influential African Americans, ages 25 to 45. Joslyn Barnes is a film producer and director and co-founder of Louverture Films with Danny Glover. She is the author or co-author of numerous commissioned screenplays for feature films including the upcoming epic Toussaint.



March 4



In San Bernardino, California, William Burke and Harry Fisher were found guilty of a crime against nature and given 25 years each in prison.


1922, Italy

Pier Paolo Pasolini (5 March 1922 – 2 November 1975) is born in Bologna. He was an Italian film director, poet, writer, and intellectual. Pasolini also distinguished himself as an actor, journalist, philosopher, philologist, novelist, playwright, painter, and political figure. While openly gay from the very start of his career (thanks to a gay sex scandal that sent him packing from his provincial hometown to live and work in Rome), Pasolini rarely dealt with homosexuality in his movies. He remains a controversial personality in Italy due to his blunt style and the focus of some of his works on taboo sexual matters, but he is an established major figure in European literature and cinematic arts. His murder prompted an outcry in Italy and its circumstances continue to be a matter of heated debate.


1933, Germany

One of the largest LGBT clubs of hundreds in Berlin is shut down nine days after a “Public Morality” directive that gay bars and clubs be closed.


1974, Canada

In Milton, Ontario, fundamentalist minister Ken Campbell, outraged by Hamilton-McMaster Homophile Association members addressing his daughter’s high school class, forms the Halton Renaissance Committee, forerunner of Renaissance Canada. Eventually it becomes one of strongest opponents of gay rights movement.



Young playwright Samantha Gellar wins a writing contest in Charlotte, NC, but her play is banned from production by the Children’s Theater of Charlotte because of the play’s theme of love between two women. As a result, her play is produced off-Broadway by a group of actors and Ms. Gellar goes on to be named one of the most influential women under 20 by Ms. Magazine in 2000.



Ang Lee wins the academy award for Best Director for the film Brokeback Mountain, an American neo-Western romantic film directed by Lee and produced by Diana Ossana and James Schamus. Adapted from the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx, the screenplay was written by Ossana and Larry McMurtry. The film stars Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams, and depicts the complex emotional and sexual relationship between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist in the American West from 1963 to 1983.



Daniela Vega (born June 3, 1989), the star of Oscar-winning foreign film “A Fantastic Woman,” becomes the first openly transgender presenter in Academy Awards history when she introduces a performance by Sufjan Stevens, whose song “Mystery of Love” from the “Call Me By Your Name” soundtrack, is nominated for best original song.


March 6


1475, Italy

Michelangelo Buonaroti (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564) is born in Caprese. He will one day paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and sculpt the David. The great painter had several lovers but none so loved as Tommasso Cavalieri (1509–1587) to whom he wrote exquisite love sonnets.



Shortly after Sholem Asch’s The God of Vengeance moves to Broadway to the Apollo Theater, the producer, the theater owner, and 12 cast members are arrested and charged with “presenting an obscene, indecent, immoral and impure theatrical production.” God of Vengeance is a 1906 play that explores religious hypocrisy, prostitution, and lesbianism. The play had previously been performed successfully and without interference in nine countries in Europe. Although a jury rules against the play two months later, the verdict is later overturned on appeal. It is about a Jewish brothel owner who attempts to become respectable by commissioning a Torah scroll and marrying off his daughter to a yeshiva student, but the daughter falls in love with one of the women in the brothel.



The American Bar Association passes a resolution recommending that consensual sex acts between people of the same sex be decriminalized.


1981, Canada

The founding meetings of the Toronto Gay Community Council are held. It was the first city-wide coordinating organization of gay and lesbian groups in Canada. The council remained in operation until Sep 1984.



Vermont becomes the first state to hand out condoms to prisoners on request.



Jonathan Schmitz and Scott Amedure tape a Jenny Jones Show about secret crushes. Schmitz expected his admirer to be a woman, not his gay neighbor. When Schmitz found Amedure, a 32-year-old unemployed gay man, telling a television audience about a fantasy that involved Schmitz, he became embarrassed and, his lawyers said, enraged. Three days after the taping, on March 9, 1995, Schmitz received an anonymous, sexually suggestive note on his doorstep and assumed it came from Amedure. Schmitz purchased a 12-gauge shotgun, went to Amedure’s mobile home and fired two shots at close range into Amedure’s chest. A few minutes later, Schmitz dialed 911 from a pay phone at a gas station near his sister’s house. He said, “I just walked in the room and killed him.” Schmitz was later convicted of second-degree murder. Although the conviction was overturned, Schmitz was again found guilty in a second trial and sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison. In a civil suit, a jury found the Jenny Jones Show liable for the murder and awarded the Amedure family $25 million.  


March 7


1855, France

Robert Comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac (7 March 1855, Paris – 11 December 1921) is born in Paris. He was a French aesthete, Symbolist poet, art collector and dandy. He is reputed to have been the inspiration both for Jean des Esseintes in Joris-Karl Huysmans‘ À rebours (1884) and, most famously, for the Baron de Charlus in Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (1913–1927). His portrait Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac was painted by his close friend, and model for many of his eccentric mannerisms, James Abbott McNeill Whistler in 1891-1892. He had aristocratic women friends but much preferred the company of bright attractive young men. In 1885, he began a close long-term relationship with Gabriel Yturri (March 12, 1860 – July 6, 1905), a handsome South American immigrant, from Tucuman, Argentina who became his secretary, companion, and lover. After Yturri died of diabetes, Henri Pinard replaced him as secretary in 1908 and eventually inherited Montesquiou’s much reduced fortune. Montesquiou and Yturri are buried alongside each other at Cimetière des Gonards, Versailles, Île-de-France, France.


1934, Russia

Article 121 makes sodomy between men illegal in all the republics of the USSR. Maxim Gorky, a popular writer and the leading Soviet intellectual of the period, praises the “proletarian humanism” of the law which punishes sex between consenting male adults with up to five years’ “deprivation of freedom.”


1934, Italy

Marcella Di Folco, born Marcello Di Folco (March 7, 1943 – September 7, 2010), was an activist, actress and Italian politician.  In cinema, she worked for directors such as Federico Fellini and Roberto Rossellini. In August 1980, after a long period of self-conflict with her gender identity, she had a sex change operation in Casablanca.  She was an active participant in the Movimento Italiano Transessuali, and was influential in having sex changes made legal in Italy, in 1982.



CBS airs “The Homosexuals,” an episode of CBS Reports. This first-ever national television broadcast on the subject of homosexuality has been described as “the single most destructive hour of antigay propaganda in our nation’s history.” Host Mike Wallace concluded: “The dilemma of the homosexual: told by the medical profession he is sick; by the law that he’s a criminal; shunned by employers; rejected by heterosexual society. Incapable of a fulfilling a relationship with a woman, or for that matter with a man. At the center of his life he remains anonymous. A displaced person, an outsider.



The first gay rights legislation is enacted in America. In East Lansing, Michigan, the city council approved by a vote of 4-to-1 an act declaring the city must seek to “employ the best applicant for each vacancy on the basis of his [sic] qualifications for the job and without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex or homosexuality.”



Desert Hearts, considered the first positive lesbian film, is released. It is an American romantic drama film directed by Donna Deitch (born June 8, 1945). The screenplay, written by Natalie Cooper, is an adaptation of the 1964 lesbian-themed novel Desert of the Heart by Jane Rule (28 March 1931 – 27 November 2007). Set in Reno, Nevada in 1959, it tells the story of a university professor awaiting a divorce who finds her true self when she meets a free-spirited younger woman confident in her romantic and sexual attraction. The film stars Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau with a supporting performance by Audra Lindley. It is regarded as the first film to present a positive portrayal of lesbian sexuality.



Shortly after the release of his first big mainstream hit Hairspray, its star, Divine, dies on this day of heart disease in Los Angeles at the age of 42. Harris Glenn Milstead, better known by his stage name Divine (October 19, 1945 – March 7, 1988), was an American actor, singer and drag queen. Closely associated with the independent filmmaker John Waters (born April 22, 1946), Divine was a character actor, usually performing female roles in cinematic and theatrical appearances, and adopted a female drag persona for his music career. Divine considered himself to be male, not transgender. He was gay, and during the 1980s had an extended relationship with a married man named Lee who accompanied him almost everywhere. They later separated and Divine went on to have a brief affair with gay porn star Leo Ford (July 5, 1957 – July 17, 1991). Divine sometimes hinted that he was bisexual, but in the latter part of the 1980s he was being open about his homosexuality. Nonetheless, he avoided discussing gay rights, partially at the advice of his manager, realizing that it would have had a negative effect on his career.



The Birdcage opens in theaters nationwide. The Birdcage is a 1996 American comedy film directed by Mike Nichols, written by Elaine May, and starring Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane (February 3, 1956), and Dianne Wiest. Dan Futterman, Calista Flockhart, Hank Azaria, and Christine Baranski appear in supporting roles. It is a remake of the 1978 Franco-Italian film La Cage aux Folles by Édouard Molinaro starring Michel Serrault and Ugo Tognazzi.


2014, Jamaica

Police once again attempted to evict homeless LGBT youth from the sewers of New Kingston. A judge ruled that since sewers were a public place, and the youth had nowhere else to go, they could stay there. Youth who were arrested were charged with swearing and had to pay a fine which was covered by Dwayne’s House.



Mart Crowley (born August 21, 1935– March 7, 2020) dies. He was an American playwright. He worked for a number of television production companies in Hollywood before meeting Natalie Wood on the set of her film Splendor in the Grass. Wood hired him as her assistant, primarily to give him free time to work on his gay-themed play The Boys in the Band, which opened off-Broadway on April 14, 1968 and enjoyed a run of 1,000 performances. Crowley has appeared in at least three documentaries: The Celluloid Closet (1995), about the depiction of homosexuality in cinema; Dominick Dunne: After the Party (2007), a biography of Crowley’s friend and producer Dominick Dunne; and Making the Boys (2011), a documentary about the making of The Boys in the Band. Crowley is openly gay.



March 8


203 AD, Syria

Heliogablus (March 8, 203-March 11, 222), who became Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, was born in Syria. The boy Emperor of Rome loved his men but was forced to create an heir so he married. He was so impressed with the pomp and circumstance of the marriage ceremony that he did it again, twice in one night, taking as his husband a young charioteer named Gorianus who was described by a contemporary as “hung like his horse” and as his wife, a boy named Hierocles. The wedding night with both was consummated before the wedding guests. Eventually Heliogablus was killed by his enemies with a sword up his posterior. He was 19.


1702, UK

Anne (6 February 1665 – 1 August 1714) becomes queen of Great Britain. She was the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland between 8 March 1702 and 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, two of her realms, the kingdoms of England and Scotland, united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death. Around 1671, she had met Sarah Jennings with whom she had a close relationship for nearly 50 years. Their relationship turned negative over time due to politics. Sarah started rumors that Anne was a lesbian and threatened to make their love letters public. Anne dismissed Sarah from the court forever. Sarah was supplanted in Anne’s affections by a cousin, Abigail Hill. She had caught the Queen’s attention during Sarah’s frequent absences from Court, and Sarah was never again to be the Queen’s closest confidant.


1887, UK

Una Vincenzo, Lady Troubridge, born Margot Elena Gertrude Taylor (8 March 1887 – 24 September 1963), was a British sculptor and translator. She is best known as the long-time lesbian partner of Marguerite Radclyffe Hall (12 August 1880 – 7 October 1943), author of The Well of Loneliness. Una Troubridge was an educated woman with achievements in her own right. Most notably she was a successful translator and introduced the French writer Colette to English readers. Her talent as a sculptor prompted Nijinsky to sit for her several times.



In New York City, the Veterans Benevolent Association incorporates “to unite socially and fraternally, all veterans and their friends, of good and moral character.” The group, which had about 100 members at its height, helps gay male veterans with legal and employment problems, besides holding social events attended by as many as 500.



The Lesbian Mothers Defense Fund is launched in Toronto by the group Wages Due Lesbians. It maintained women should be paid for rearing children pointing out that female parenting is a job that is 24/7. Seattle had a chapter as well.



Monica F. Helms (born March 8, 1951) is a transgender activist, author, and veteran of the United States Navy. She created the transgender pride flag in 1999. It was first flown at a Pride Parade in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2000. Helms donated the original Transgender Pride Flag at the first ceremony honoring the addition of a collection of LGBT historical items at the Smithsonian on August 19, 2014.



Pat Califia (born 1954) is an American writer of non-fiction essays about sexuality and of erotic fiction and poetry. Califia is a bisexual trans man. Prior to transitioning, he identified as a lesbian. He wrote a sex advice column for the gay men‘s leather magazine Drummer. His writings explore sexuality and gender identity, and have included lesbian erotica and works about BDSM subculture. Califia is a member of the third-wave feminism movement.



In the early morning hours, New York City police raid a gay bar called the Snake Pit for not having a license for dancing and selling alcohol, arresting 167 patrons. At the police station, one of the arrestees, an Argentine national named Diego Vinales so feared the possibility of deportation that he leapt from a second-story window of the police station, impaling himself on the spikes of an iron fence. He survived, though firemen were forced to cut out a section of the fence with Vinales still skewered on it, in order to move him to the hospital. One journalist remarked, “It is no crime to be *in* a place that is serving liquor illegally, the only crime is to run such a place. There were no grounds for hauling the customers away.” Though charges against other patrons were dropped, Vinales was rebooked for “resisting arrest” and officers were stationed outside his hospital room to prevent another escape. The community organized a protest march.



The New York Times runs a front-page photograph of six men being executed by firing squad in Iran for allegedly having committed crimes of “homosexual rape.” Since the Ayatollah Khomeini’s rise to power just four weeks earlier, there had been growing reports of gay men, as well as Jews, Baha’is, “blasphemers,” “heretics,” former members of the Iranian aristocracy, and others being blackmailed, imprisoned, tortured, dismembered, hanged and/or shot. By the time Khomeini gets around to celebrating his first anniversary of his Islamic revolution, the body count is in the thousands.


March 9


1892, UK

Vita Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson, (9 March 1892 – 2 June 1962) is born in Knole, England. She was an English poet, novelist, and designer. The lesbian writer married gay diplomat Harold Nicolson (21 November 1886 – 1 May 1968). The story of her passionate but disastrous affair with Violet Trefusis is beautifully told in Portrait of a Marriage by her son Nigel Nicolson. She was the inspiration for the androgynous protagonist of Orlando: A Biography, by her famous friend and lover, Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941). Vita was more deeply involved with author Violet Keppel (6 June 1894 – 29 February 1972). The sexual relationship began when they were both in their teens and strongly influenced them for years. Both later married and became writers. In 1927, Sackville-West had an affair with Mary Garman (1898–1979), a member of the Bloomsbury Group, and between 1929 and 1931 with Hilda Matheson (June 7, 1888 – October 30, 1940), head of the BBC Talks department. In 1931, Sackville-West was in a ménage à trois with journalist Evelyn Irons (17 June 1900 – 3 April 2000) and Irons’ lover, Olive Rinder.



Carrie Chapman Catt (Jan. 9, 1859-March 9, 1947) dies. She was an American women’s suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave American women the right to vote in 1920. Catt was the founder of the League of Women Voters and the International Alliance of Women. She was one of the best-known women in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. For over twenty years she lived with fellow suffragist, Mary Garrett Hay (August 29, 1857- August 29, 1928). On March 9, 1947, Catt died of a heart attack in her home in New Rochelle, New York. She was buried alongside her longtime partner, Hay, at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City.



Los Angeles police savagely beat a gay man to death during the Dover Hotel raid. The Dover operated as an early version of the soon-to-become-popular bathhouse scene. It was also the scene of a number of raids by LAPD’s vice squad for the easy bust of “faggots.” During a raid by the LAPD Vice Squad on March 9, 1969, four months prior to the Stonewall riots in New York City, Howard Efland, a male nurse checked into the hotel under the pseudonym of J. McCann. By the end of that day Efland would be brutally beaten outside the hotel by police in front of numerous witnesses. While several witnesses claimed that Efland died at the scene, arresting officers Chauncy and Halligan said Elfland was alive then claimed that halfway to the station from where they had arrested him, he kicked open the door and fell out onto the Hollywood Freeway. No one was ever held accountable for the murder of Howard Efland. On March 2, 2016, Back2Stonewall’s Will Kohler talked with LAPD’s  Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Liaison in the Community Relations Department who promised to look into the Efland case after 46 years.



Noted gay artist Robert Mapplethorpe (November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) dies of AIDS in Boston at the age of 42. Mapplethorpe’s work is later at the center of a major arts funding controversy in the United States. He was an American photographer, known for his sensitive yet blunt treatment of controversial subject-matter in the large-scale, highly stylized black and white medium of photography. His work featured an array of subjects including celebrity portraits, male and female nudes, self-portraits and still-life images of flowers. His most controversial work is that of the underground BDSM scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s in New York City. The homoeroticism of this work fueled a national debate over the public funding of controversial artwork.



Asbury Park, New Jersey, begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples but they’re later nullified because they were illegally issued.


March 10



From George Washington’s letters: Lt. Enslin of Col. Malcolm’s regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy with John Monhort, a soldier. His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with the Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Lt. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return. Enslin was “dismissed with Infamy.” Little is known about the early life of Frederick Gotthold Enslin (born 1740), but it is believed he was educated and from a family of high standing in Europe, possibly southern Germany, due to reports that his command of the English language was outstanding and his penmanship was well formed. His approximate year of birth was 1740. When Enslin enlisted, he was given the appointment of lieutenant in the Continental Army. His assignment was under the command of Col. William Malcolm and Lt. Col. Aaron Burr. Malcolm’s regiment was formed in mid-1777 and placed into the 3rd Pennsylvania Brigade after a lengthy encampment at Valley Forge. Enslin would become known as the first person to be dishonorably discharged due to his sexual orientation.


1924, UK

Angela Morley (10 March 1924 – 14 January 2009) is born as Walter “Wally” Stott. She was an English composer and conductor. She attributed her entry into composing and arranging largely to the influence and encouragement of the Canadian light music composer Robert Farnon. In 1972, Morley underwent sex reassignment surgery. Later in life, she lived in Scottsdale, Arizona. She became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Academy Award when she was nominated for one in the category of Best Music, Original Song Score/Adaptation for The Little Prince (1974), a nomination shared with Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe, and Douglas Gamley.



John Rechy (born March 10, 1931) is born in El Paso, Texas. He is a Mexican American novelist, essayist, memoirist, dramatist and literary critic. In his novels, he has written extensively about gay culture in Los Angeles and wider America, among other subject matters, and is among the pioneers of modern LGBT literature. City of Night, his debut novel published in 1963, was a best seller and is widely considered a seminal work in 20th century in literature. Drawing on his own background, he has contributed to Chicano literature, notably with his novel The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez which has been taught in several Chicano literature courses throughout the United States.


1971, France

Guy Hocquenghem  (10 December 1946– 28 August 1988) and others, mostly lesbian activists, disrupt a Paris conference on the “problem” of homosexuality. The demonstration leads to the formation the following month of a Gay Liberation group, Front Homosexual d’Action Revolutionnaire. Guy was a French writer, philosopher, and queer theorist. Though Hocquenghem had a significant impact on leftist thinking in France, his reputation has failed to grow to international prominence. Only the first of his theoretical tracts, Homosexual Desire (1972) and his first novel, L’Amour en relief (1982) have been translated into English. Although Race d’Ep! was shown at Roxie Cinema in San Francisco in April 1980 and released in America as The Homosexual Century, like Hocquenghem, the film is virtually unknown. Hocquenghem died of AIDS-related complications on 28 August 1988, at age 41.


1979, Canada

International Women’s Day in Toronto includes a call for an end to harassment of lesbians as one of four demands. It is the first time lesbian rights becomes an upfront issue.


Janet Mock (born March 10, 1983) is an American writer, TV host, and transgender rights activist. Her debut book, the memoir  Redefining Realness, became a New York Times bestseller. She is a contributing editor for Claire and a former staff editor of People magazine’s website. In November 2012, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project gave Mock their Sylvia Rivera Activist Award. Mock was included in the Trans 100, the first annual list recognizing 100 transgender advocates in the United States, and gave the keynote speech at the launch event on March 29, 2013 in Chicago. On November 14, 2013, Mock was honored as a member of the OUT100, Out Magazine‘s 100 “most compelling people of the year” and introduced Laverne Cox as the recipient of the Reader’s Choice Award at the event. She was also named one of GOOD Magazine’s GOOD 100 for “Building An Online Army to Defend #GirlsLikeUs.” Mock was included in the video accompanying the Google Doodle for International Women’s Day 2014. In April 2014,GLSEN presented Mock with the Inspiration Award at the GLSEN Respect Awards and in October, the Feminist Press honored her activism at the Women & Power Gala.



William M. Hoffman’s (April 12, 1939 – April 29, 2017) play about AIDS “As Is” opens at New York City’s Circle Rep Theater. Less than six weeks later, Larry Kramer’s (born June 25, 1935) The Normal Heart opens at the Public Theater. Hoffman, who was an American playwright, editor and educator, died on April 30, 2017. Until the time of his death, he was an Associate Professor of Theatre at Lehman College at The City University of New York.



AIDS advocacy group ACT UP – The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power – is formed in response to the devastating affects the disease has had on the gay and lesbian community in New York. The group holds demonstrations against pharmaceutical companies profiteering from AIDS-related drugs as well as the lack of AIDS policies protecting patients from outrageous prescription prices.


1994, Germany

Paragraph 175, the section of the German Penal Code that outlaws sexual acts between men, is finally repealed. It was used heavily by the Nazis to persecute gay and bisexual men.


2009, Israel

In Tel Aviv, Uzi Even (born 18 October 1940) and his life partner Amit Kama were the first same-sex male couple in Israel whose right of adoption was legally acknowledged. The Israeli Court ruled in their favor. Even is an Israeli professor emeritus of physical chemistry at Tel Aviv University and a former politician well known for being the first openly gay member of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament). In 2004, Even and Kama married in Canada. In December 2012, Even set yet another legal precedent by divorcing Kama. The divorce was granted by the Family Court since the Rabbinical Court does not recognize same-sex marriage. This might lead the way for straight couples to bypass the religious establishment as well, which, in Israel, holds monopoly on marriage and divorce affairs. 


March 11


222, Italy

Elagabalus (c. 203 – March 11, 222)I s assassinated at age 18 because of his relationship with Hierocles, a charioteer. Elagabalus was a Roman emperor from 218 to 222. A member of the Severan dynasty, he was Syrian, the second son of Julia Soaemias and Sextus Varius Marcellus. In his early youth he served as a priest of the god Elagabalus in the hometown of his mother’s family, Emesa. As a private citizen, he was probably named Sextus Varius Avitus Bassianus. Elagabalus, barely 14 years old, became emperor, initiating a reign remembered mainly for sex scandals and religious controversy. Elagabalus developed a reputation among his contemporaries for extreme eccentricity, decadence, and zealotry. This tradition has persisted, and with writers of the early modern age, he suffers one of the worst reputations among Roman emperors.



Doctor Who actor John Barrowman (born 11 March 1967) is born. He  is a Scottish-American actor, singer, presenter and writer. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he moved to the United States with his family in 1975. Encouraged by his high school teachers, Barrowman studied performing arts at the United States International University in Diego before landing the role of Billy Crocker in Cole Porter‘s  Anything Goes in London’s West End. Barrowman is openly gay. He met his husband, Scott Gill, during a production of Rope at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 1993, after Gill came to see Barrowman in the play. He nearly got the role of Will in “Will and Grace” in 1998, but he lost the part when producers thought he was ‘too straight’. Eric McCormack, who got the part, is straight.



Madison, Wisconsin passes a bill granting civil rights protection to gays and lesbians.


1998, Denmark

Torben Lund (born November 6, 1950) and Yvonne Herlov Andersen  (born 1942), the first two openly gay and lesbian members of the Danish Parliament, took office. Lund came out as gay in 1998, becoming Denmark’s first openly gay member of the Folketing. In 1999, he married his partner Claus Lautrup. He served in the Folketing from 1981 to 1998 and in the European Parliament from 1999 to 2004. Herlov Andersen was elected to the Folketing (Danish parliament) in 1977 from Sorø, serving until 1979, again from 1981 to 1984 from Slagelse, and from 1987–88 from Odense. In 1994 she was appointed Social Minister in the first Nyrup Rasmussen cabinet. She subsequently served as Minister of Health in the second Nyrup Rasmussen cabinet, from 1994 to 1996, where she focused particularly on reform of HIV policy, and compensation for previous mistreatment of hemophiliacs. Herløv Andersen was outed as lesbian in 1996 by Palle Juul-Jensen, the former head of the National Board of Health, who had clashed with Herløv Andersen and her predecessor Torben Lund over AIDS policy, leading to Juul-Jensen’s forced resignation in 1995.



The first transgender person, Reuben Zellman, is accepted in the Reform Judaism Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rabbi Zellman is now the assistant rabbi and music director of Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, CA.



The first openly LGBTQ person, Rabbi Toba Spitzer, is chosen to head an American Rabbinical Association, in Arizona. She was elected president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association at the group’s annual convention, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Spitzer leads Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in West Newton, Massachusetts.

March 12


1890, Russia

Vaslav Nijinsky (March 12, 1890 – 8 April 1950) is born in Kiev. He was a ballet dancer and choreographer cited as the greatest male dancer of the early 20th century. His love affair with choreographer Diaghilev (19 March] 1872 – 19 August 1929), his marriage, and his eventual madness led to his becoming an icon in the arts.



Edward Franklin Albee III (March 12, 1928 – September 16, 2016) was an American playwright known for works such as The Zoo Story (1958), The Sandbox (1959), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962), and A Delicate Balance (1966). Three of his plays won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and two of his other works won the Tony Award for Best Play. Albee was openly gay and stated that he first knew he was gay at age 12. Albee insisted that he did not want to be known as a “gay writer”, stating in his acceptance speech for the 2011 Lambda Literary Foundation’s Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement: “A writer who happens to be gay or lesbian must be able to transcend self. I am not a gay writer. I am a writer who happens to be gay.” His longtime partner, Jonathan Thomas (1946-May 2, 2005), a sculptor, died from bladder cancer. They had been partners from 1971 until Thomas’s death. Albee also had a relationship of several years with playwright Terrence McNally (born November 3, 1938) during the 1950s.



At a campaign stop in Los Angeles, Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter tells an audience that, if elected, he would be willing to issue an executive order banning discrimination against gay people in housing, employment, immigration and the military.


1981, Canada

MCC pastor Brent Hawkes ends a twenty-five day hunger fast when Toronto City Council asks Daniel Hill to investigate police/gay relations. Hawkes began his fast to create pressure for independent inquiry into the Toronto bath raids. But Hill, the mayor’s advisor on community and race relations, said he would not take on that job.


1984, Europe

The European Parliament approves its first resolution in support of lesbian and gay rights. The resolution is based on a report previously accepted by the Parliament from Italian member Vera Squarcialupi.


1995, Cambodia

A same sex couple is married in the village of Kro Bao Ach Kok. It was allowed because one of the partners already had children from a previous marriage. If they were both childless, they would not have been allowed to get married because they couldn’t produce children. There were about 250 guests at the wedding including Buddhist monks and high officials from the province.



Oregon’s attorney general issues an opinion on same-sex marriage, stating that issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples would contradict current state law. At the same time, he also concluded that the Oregon Supreme Court would probably strike down those statutes as violating the state’s constitution. Partially as a result of this, the Wisconsin State Senate voted to approve an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriages and civil unions.


March 13



Susan B. Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) dies. Anthony was an abolitionist, a teacher and education reformer, a labor activist, a temperance worker, a feminist and, of course a suffragist. She never married and she is believed by historians to have had three intimate relationships with women in her life.


1980, Canada

The Association of Gay Electors chooses George Hislop (June 3, 1927 – October 8, 2005) as candidate for the Ward 6 aldermanic race in downtown Toronto. The civic election would be held in November. Hislop had been co-founder and long-time president of the Community Homophile Association of Toronto. A co-owner of the Club Baths of Toronto and The Barracks Bathhouse, he had been charged as “keeper of a common bawdyhouse” following the notorious Bathhouse raids. He was one of Canada‘s most influential gay activists.



Claiming an “absence of compelling need” for such legislation, California governor George Deukmejian vetoes a gay rights bill that would have prohibited job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.



Paris is Burning premieres in the U.S. It is a documentary that shows New York’s drag scene in the 1980s, directed by Jennie Livingston. It chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it. Some critics consider the film to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the “Golden Age” of New York City drag balls, and a thoughtful exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America. In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


2007, France

Nicole Stéphane, Baroness Nicole de Rothschild (27 May 1923 – 13 March 2007) dies. She was a French actress, producer and director. In the early 1970s, Stéphane was the lover of the American writer and critic Susan Sontag (January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004).


March 14


1860, Sweden

Eric Stanislaus, Count Stenbock (14 March 1860 –14 April 1895) is born. He was a Baltic Swedish poet and writer of macabre fantastic fiction. Stenbock attended Balliol College in Oxford but never completed his studies. While at Oxford, he was deeply influenced by the homosexual Pre-Raphaelite artist and illustrator Simeon Solomon (9 October 1840 – 14 August 1905). He is also said to have had a relationship with the composer and conductor Norman O’Neill (14 March 1875 – 3 March 1934) and with other young men.



An estimated 2,000 people march on the New York state capitol in protest of anti-gay and anti-lesbian laws and policies.


1977, Canada

Windsor, Ontario becomes the third Canadian city council to pass resolution banning discrimination against gay and lesbian city employees.



The New York City AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (Act Up) is formed as a direct-action group by Larry Kramer and some 300 other activists.


1993, Brazil

Armed men abduct, torture, and behead Renildo Jose dos Santos (1964 – March 14, 1993), an openly bisexual local city councilor in the state of Alagoas. Santos, who had been under attack from the local mayor and the mayor’s allies, had repeatedly been denied police protection, despite a previous attempt on his life.


2006, India

Prince Manvendra Kumar Singh Gohil (born 23 September 1965) of the former state of Rajpipla comes out as a gay man making him the first openly gay prince in the world. He is the son and probable heir of the Maharaja of Rajpipla in Gujarat. He runs a charity, The Lakshya Trust, which works with the LGBT community.

2012, Denmark

The gender-neutral marriage equality legislation is proposed in the Danish Parliament, goes on to be passed on June 15th, granting rights to civil marriage as well as marriage in the Church of Denmark.


2012, New York

On behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, the Center for Constitutional Rights files a lawsuit claiming that hate preacher Scott Lively violated international law with conspiracy to engineer a genocide of LGBT people in Uganda. In the summer of 2016. The case continued and a summary judgement hearing before Judge Ponsor was scheduled for September 14, 2016 in Springfield, Massachusetts. In June 2017, Ponsor dismissed the case due to lack of jurisdiction.


March 15


559, Turkey

“Men-corruptors” are blamed for the earthquake and plague in Constantinople by the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire. 


1633, Sweden

Christina  (8 December 1626 – 19 April 1689) becomes Queen at age six. She always wished to be a boy and is given the nickname “Girl King.” When she was fourteen her tutor remarked that “she is not at all like a female.” Christina is remembered as one of the most educated women of the 1600s, being educated as a royal male would have been. With her interest in religion, philosophy, mathematics and alchemy, she attracted many scientists to Stockholm, wanting the city to become the “Athens of the North.” She was intelligent, fickle and moody; she rejected what the sexual role of a woman was at the time. She caused a scandal when she decided not to marry and, in 1654, when she abdicated her throne and converted to Roman Catholicism. She changed her name from Kristina Augusta Wasa to Christina Alexandra. Christina revealed in her autobiography that she felt “an insurmountable distaste for marriage” and “for all the things that females talked about and did.” As she was chiefly occupied with her studies, she slept three to four hours a night, forgot to comb her hair, donned her clothes in a hurry and wore men’s shoes for the sake of convenience. Her unruly hair became her trademark. Her closest female friend was Ebba Sparre (1629 – 19 March 1662), a Swedish waiting and noble, with whom she shared “a long time intimate companionship”.


1811, UK

The trial for two Scottish teachers Miss Marianne Woods and Miss Jane Pirie begins. They are accused of lesbian acts. One of the judges said that sex between women was “equally imaginary with witchcraft, sorcery or carnal copulation with the devil.”

1867, UK

Lionel Pigot Johnson (15 March 1867 – 4 October 1902) is born in Broadstairs, England. An influential poet and literary critic in his time, he was also the victim of one of the oldest ironies in the history of love. He made the mistake of introducing his young lover to a friend who quickly snatched him away. The young lover was Lord Alfred Douglas (22 October 1870 – 20 March 1945), and the friend, Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900).



Ruth Simpson (March 15, 1926 – May 8, 2008) was the founder of the United States’ first lesbian community center, an author, and former president of Daughters of Bilitis, New York (DOB). Simpson organized gay rights demonstrations and educational programs for DOB members during the period of 1969–71. Several times when NYC police, without warrants, illegally entered DOB’s lesbian center in lower Manhattan, Simpson stood between the police and the DOB women. On three occasions she was cited for court appearances by the police. She was also arrested at a Women Against Richard Nixon (WARN) rally, along wither partner of 37 years videographer Ellen Povill, author Ti-Grace Atkinson (born November 9, 1938) and lawyer Flo Kennedy (February 11, 1916 – December 21, 2000), and spent most of a day in jail until the women’s attorney gained their release. Ruth’s book From the Closet to the Courts was published in 1977 and republished in 2007. She also produced the weekly hour-long program “Minority Report” in Woodstock, New York from 1982 until her death in 2008.



The ABC sitcom, Three’s Company, premieres.  The “sit” in the sitcom is that an unemployed straight chef (John Ritter’s Jack Tripper) moves in with two female roommates, but in order to satisfy the landlord’s suspicions that there might be sexual impropriety, pretends he is gay. The show stays in the Nielsen Top Ten for the next six years.



A West Virginia kindergarten teacher, Linda Conway, is forced to resign from her job after parents complain that she “looks” like a lesbian.  She files a $1 million lawsuit against the school board. However, three years later the state supreme court confirms the school board’s right to dismiss her because of her appearance.



The American Medical Association concludes that AIDS is NOT spread by casual contact.


2006, Czech Republic

The Czech House and Senate pass a bill allowing same-sex partner registration but President Vaclav Klaus vetoes it. The veto is overturned on this day and the law goes into effect on July 1, 2006.


March 16



Legislators of New Hampshire pass the colony’s first capital laws, copied almost word for word from the Plymouth laws of 1671: If any man lie with mankind as he lies with a woman; both of them have committed abomination; They both shall surely be put to death: unless one party were forced, or were under fourteen years of age. And all other Sodomitical filthiness shall be severely punished according to the nature of it


1885, Australia

Novelist Ida Alexa Ross Wylie (16 March 1885 – 4 November 1959) is born in Melbourne. She is known by her pen name I. A. R. Wylie. She was an Australian-British-American novelist, screenwriter, short story writer, and poet who was honored by the journalistic and literary establishments of her time. Between 1915 and 1953, more than thirty of her novels and stories were adapted into films, including Keeper of the Flame (1942) directed by George Cukor and starred Spencer and Hepburn. In 1940, she published My Life With George, at the time a groundbreaking work about her life with another woman. In the 1930s, Wylie, Dr. Sara Josephine Baker and another pioneering woman physician, Dr. Louise Pearce, settled on a property near Skillman, New Jersey called Trevenna Farm. They lived there together until Baker died in 1945, followed by Pearce, and then later Wylie who died on November 4,1959 at the age of 74. Wylie and Pearce are buried alongside each other at Henry Skillman Burying Ground, Trevenna Farm’s family cemetery. Dr. Sara Josephine Baker  (November 15, 1873 – February 22, 1945) was a pioneering public health specialist best known for capturing “Typhoid Mary.” Dr. Louise Pearce (March 5, 1885 – August 10, 1959) was an American pathologist at the Rockefeller Institute who helped develop a treatment for African sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis)



John Richard “Jack” Nichols Jr. (March 16, 1938 – May 2, 2005) is born. He was an American gay rights activist who co-founded the Washington, D.C. branch of the Mattachine Society in 1961 with Franklin E. Kameny (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011). He appeared in a 1967 documentary under the pseudonym Warren Adkins.



The Army-McCarthy hearings convene to investigate conflicting charges made by the United States Army and Senator Joseph McCarthy about allegations of preferential treatment that McCarthy and his aide Roy Cohn (February 20, 1927 – August 2, 1986) had secured for Cohn’s friend David Schine (September 11, 1927 – June 19, 1996). The hearings include inquiries into the supposed security risks posed by homosexuals employed by the federal government and include instances of gay-baiting by Special Counsel for the Army Joseph Welch. Notably, Welch defines a pixie as being “a close relative of a fairy”. “Fairy” is a slang term for “homosexual” and Welch’s remark is interpreted as a jibe at Cohn, a closeted homosexual who later died of AIDS.



Love, Simon is a 2018 American romantic teen comedy-drama film directed by Greg Berlanti, written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, and based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. The film stars Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel, and Jennifer Garner. It centers on Simon Spier, a closeted gay high school boy who is forced to balance his friends, his family, and the blackmailer threatening to out him to the entire school while simultaneously attempting to discover the identity of the anonymous classmate with whom he has fallen in love online. Love, Simon premiered at the Mardi Gras Film Festival on February 27, 2018, and was released in the United States on March 16, 2018, by 20th Century Fox. Critics praised the film for its “big heart, diverse and talented cast, and revolutionary normalcy,” describing it as “tender, sweet, and affecting” and a “hugely charming crowd-pleaser” that is “funny, warm-hearted and life-affirming,” with reviews comparing it to the romantic comedy-drama films of John Hughes. Notable as the first film by a major Hollywood studio to focus on a gay teenage romance, it has grossed $66.3 million worldwide.



March 17



Bayard Rustin (March 17, 1912 – August 24, 1987) is born. He was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. He worked in the pacifist groups Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and the War Resisters League (WRL). A member of the Communist Party before 1941, he collaborated with A. Philip Randolph on the March on Washington Movement to press for an end to discrimination in employment. He was a leading activist of the early Civil Rights Movement, helping to initiate a 1947 Freedom Ride to challenge, with civil disobedience the racial segregation issue related to interstate busing. He recognized Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s leadership, and helped to organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to strengthen King’s work. Rustin promoted the philosophy of nonviolence and the practices of nonviolent resistance which he had observed while working with Mahatma Gandhi’s movement in India, and helped teach Martin Luther King, Jr. about nonviolence. Rustin was a gay man who had been arrested throughout his early career for engaging in public sex with white male prostitutes. Rustin’s sexuality, or at least his public criminal charge, was criticized by some fellow pacifists and civil-rights leaders because it detracted from his effectiveness. Rustin was attacked as a “pervert” or “immoral influence” by political opponents from segregationists to conservative black leaders from the 1950s through the 1970s. In addition, his pre-1941 Communist Party affiliation when he was a young man was controversial, having caused scrutiny by the FBI. To avoid such attacks, Rustin served rarely as a public spokesperson. He usually acted as an influential adviser behind the scenes to civil-rights leaders. In the 1980s, he became a public advocate on behalf of gay and lesbian causes. On November 20, 2013, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


1938, Russia

Rudolf Nureyev (17 March 1938 – 6 January 1993) is born to Muslim peasant parents in Ulfa, East Siberia. Perhaps the greatest dancer who ever lived, Nureyev danced hard, partied hard, and spent long hours in gay bathhouses. Nureyev defected from the Soviet Union and lived in France and the U.S. on and off. He was director of the Paris Opera Ballet from 1983 to 1989. Nureyev met Erik Bruhn (3 October 1928 – 1 April 1986), the celebrated Danish dancer, with whom he remained off and on with a very volatile relationship for 25 years, until Bruhn’s death in 1986.Nureyev died in Paris of AIDS-related complications on January 6, 1993.



Two drag queens known as “The Princess” and “The Duchess” held a St. Patrick’s Day party at Griffith Park, a popular cruising spot and a frequent target of police activity in Los Angeles. More than 200 gay men socialized through the day to protest entrapment and harassment by the LAPD.



The film version of Mart Crowley’s (August 21, 1935-March 7, 2020) play Boys in the Band opens in New York, directed by William Friedkin. It is the first major Hollywood look at gay life. The director remarks, “I hope there are happy homosexuals. There just don’t happen to be any in my film.” The screenplay is based on Crowley’s Off-Broadway play The Boys in the Band. It is among the first major American motion pictures to revolve around gay characters and is often cited as a milestone in the history of queer cinema. Crowley is openly gay.



Two years after having repealed its state sodomy laws, Arkansas’s state legislature recriminalizes same sex acts between consenting adults. The new law, approved two years after Arkansas had repealed its anti-sodomy laws, is the first of a series of setbacks for gay and lesbian civil rights that evidence the rise of a conservative backlash in the US.



The White House reveals that President Reagan has undergone AIDS testing out of fear that he may have contracted the disease during blood transfusions after his 1981 assassination attempt



Actor Merritt Butrick (September 3, 1959 – March 17, 1989), best known for his portrayal of James Kirk’s son in the films “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” dies of AIDS in Los Angeles at the age of twenty-nine. He was also known for his role on the 1982 teen sitcom Square Pegs, starring a young Sarah Jessica Parker and Jami Gertz.


March 18


1308, France

France orders the arrest of all Knights Templar on charges of heresy, idolatry and sodomy, but these charges are only a pretext to seize the riches of the order. Order leaders are sentenced to death and burned at the stake on March 18, 1314, including Jacques de Molay (1243 – 18 March 1314) who was found guilty of homosexuality. Though little is known of de Molay’s actual life and deeds except for his last years as Grand Master, he is one of the best known Templars.



The State of New Jersey adopted a statute that reduced the penalty for same-sex intercourse from death to a fine and a maximum of 21 years of solitary imprisonment with hard labor. This is the first sodomy law in the United States of America to use the term “crime against nature.”



Actor Edward Everett Horton (March 18, 1886 – September 29, 1970) is born in Brooklyn. He  was an American character actor with a long career in film, theater, radio, television, and voice work for animated cartoons. It’s impossible to think of the comedies of the ’20s, ’30s, or ’40s without recollecting the lanky Nervous Nellie characters he portrayed. A whole new generation discovered him in the ’70’s and ’80s as the voice in Fractured Fairy Tales on the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show. Horton’s companion for many years was actor Gavin Gordon (April 7, 1901 – April 7, 1983) who was 15 years his junior. They both appeared (but shared no scenes) in only one film, Pocketful of Miracles (1961). They also appeared together in at least one play, a 1931 production of Noël Coward‘s Private Lives.


1922, Germany

Magnus Hirschfeld’s (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935) petition for the repeal of Paragraph 175 is presented to the Reichstag. Although 6,000 people had signed the petition, including Sigmund Freud, the late Leo Tolstoy, and Albert Einstein, it fails to persuade German lawmakers to decriminalize sex between men.



Idaho decriminalizes “gay” sex acts between consenting adults. However, before the law can take effect, in response to pressure from conservative groups, Iowa reverses itself and keeps the felony statute on the books.


1975, Canada

Warren Zufelt (1879 – March 18, 1968), one of eighteen men arrested in an Ottawa “sex scandal,” commits suicide by jumping from his apartment building balcony after his name was published in local newspapers. The effect of Warren Zufelt’s death was to create an atmosphere of shock in both the gay and the straight communities in Ottawa. All charges against the men were proved false and they all were dismissed in 1976.



Police raid a Washington, D.C. male escort service called “Friendly Models” and cart away more than a dozen boxes of business records, including the names and addresses of several hundred of the service’s clients.



OutWeek outs Malcolm Forbes (19 August 1919 – 24 February 1990). He was an American entrepreneur most prominently known as the publisher of Forbes magazine, founded by his father B. C. Forbes. He was known as an avid promoter of capitalism and free market trade, and for an extravagant lifestyle, spending on parties, travel, and his collection of homes, yachts, aircraft, art, motorcycles, and Fabergé eggs. In March, 1990, soon after his death, OutWeek magazine published a story with the cover headline “The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes,” by Michelangelo Signorile, which outed Forbes as a gay man. Signorile was critical of the media for helping Forbes publicize many aspects of his life while keeping his homosexuality a secret. The writer asked, “Is our society so overwhelmingly repressive that even individuals as all-powerful as the late Malcolm Forbes feel they absolutely cannot come out of the closet?” Even in death, the media was reluctant to disclose his sexuality. Trump stated that Forbes “lived openly as a homosexual… but expected the media and his famous friends to cover for him.”



Hellene Harrington “Muffin” Spencer-Devlin was born Oct. 25, 1953, in Piqua, Ohio. She is the first Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) pro to come out.


March 19


1872, Russia

Sergei Diaghilev (19 March 1872 – 19 August 1929) was born in Novgorod, Russia. He was a ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes from which many famous dancers and choreographers would arise. It is impossible to estimate the influence of his Ballets Russes on the development of 20th century art, yet the fact that he was gay is often overlooked. Had he not been gay, had he not been attracted to the great artists of his day, the century might have taken a different turn. Diaghilev’s emotional life and the Ballets Russes were inextricably entwined. His most famous lover was Nijinsky (12 March 1889/1890– 8 April 1950). However, according to Serge Lifar, of all Diaghilev’s lovers, only Léonide Massine (9 August 1896 – 15 March 1979) who replaced Nijinsky, provided him with “so many moments of happiness or anguish.” Diaghilev’s other lovers included Anton Dolin (27 July 1904 – 25 November 1983), Serge Lifar (2 April1905 – 15 December 1986) and his secretary and librettist Boris Kochno (3 January 1904 – 8 December 1990) . Ironically, his last lover, composer and conductor Igor Markevitch (July 27, 1912 – March 7, 1983) later married the daughter of Nijinsky.



Loretta Mary Aiken (March 19, 1894 – May 23, 1975), known by her stage name Jackie “Moms” Mabley, was an American standup comedian. A veteran of the Chitlin’ Circuit of African-American vaudeville, she later appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. She came out as a lesbian at the age of twenty-seven, becoming one of the first openly gay comedians. During the 1920s and 1930s she appeared in androgynous clothing (as she did in the film version of The Emperor Jones with Paul Robeson) and recorded several of her early “lesbian stand-up” routines. Despite Mabley’s popularity, wages for Black women in show business were meager. Nonetheless, she persisted for more than sixty years. At the height of her career, she was earning $10,000 a week at Harlem’s Apollo Theater.



The Diana Foundation was founded in Houston, TX, by a small group of friends. The Diana Foundation is a nonprofit organization and recognized as the oldest continuously active gay organization in the United States. It hosts two annual fundraising events including its Diana Awards. On Thursday, March 19, 1953, the annual Academy Awards were to be broadcast on television for the first time. David Moncrief, a gay man in Houston, who loved to entertain, was so excited about the upcoming broadcast that he purchased a new television set. He invited ten friends to watch the first televised Oscar broadcast. However, the broadcast signal failed. Undaunted by the 1953 failure, on Thursday, March 25, 1954, Moncrief organized a second party to watch the Academy Awards television broadcast. A man with a spirited sense of humor, David Moncrief had bought a gag award for one of his guests. The award was seemingly insignificant at the time, but it struck a human chord that would lead to the founding of Houston’s Diana Foundation. A nearly life size plaster model of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, stood in one corner of his living room. Guests noticed the same statue of the goddess Diana that they had seen the year before. Moncrief would festively decorate the statue with leis around her neck. It was a funny, campy sight and guests thought Diana appeared to be partying right along with the rest of the group during their gatherings. The Diana Foundation was born (March 19, 1953) and the first Diana Award was presented (March 25, 1954). Nonprofit 501(c)3 status was given on February 9, 1976. The legendary organization of friends continues today and is the oldest continuously active gay organization in the U.S.



Victor/Victoria opens nationwide to generally rave reviews. Blake Edward’s farce, based on a 1933 German film, Viktor und Viktoria, features Robert Preston as perhaps the most relaxed and affable homosexual ever scripted into a major Hollywood motion picture. The movie becomes a box office hit and accomplishes what many years of gay liberation have not – an impression on the general public’s consciousness of homosexuals as compassionate and likable people



The FDA approves AZT for the treatment of HIV /AIDS. It is the first drug for the treatment of HIVAIDS approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


2004, Canada

In Quebec, the Court of Appeal upholds a superior court ruling that same-sex marriages are legal under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia already permitted same-sex marriage



The US Supreme Court declines to hear John Lotter’s case. In 1993, he killed transgender man Brandon Teena (December 12, 1972 – December 31, 1993) and was sentenced to the death penalty.


March 20

Native AIDS Awareness Day



A group of single women called “The Petticoat Club” felt they were paying a severe economic penalty for not marrying while they saw large numbers of “eligible” men who, for whatever reason, also chose to not marry and were doing well in the world. In a petition to the New York Gazette, the club proposed that those “old bachelors” were not carrying out their proper duties and should be severely taxed for their selfishness and that tax would go to support unmarried women. It didn’t happen.


1890, Denmark

Opera star Lauritz Melchior (20 March 1890 – 19 March 1973) was born in Copenhagen. He was a Danish-American opera singer. He was the pre-eminent Wagnerian tenor of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s and has since come to be considered the quintessence of his voice type. Late in his career, Melchior appeared in movie musicals and on radio and television. He also made numerous recordings. He was virtually a household name for his singing at New York’s Met. Between 1944 and 1952, Melchior performed in five Hollywood musical films for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and made numerous U.S. radio and television appearances. In 1947, he put his hand and footprints in cement in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Novelist Hugh Walpole (13 March 1884 – 1 June 1941) had been his lover and patron.



Gavin Arthur (March 20, 1901 – April 28, 1972) was born Chester A. Arthur II in Colorado. He was a San Francisco astrologer and sexologist. The grandson of President Chester Arthur, he dropped his famous name and headed out on his own at an early age, working his way around the world in the merchant marine. Along the way, he discovered he was bisexual and became friends with many of the gay gurus of the period — Edward Carpenter (29 August 1844 – 28 June 1929), Havelock Ellis (2 Februa ry 1859 – 8 July 1939), and Magnus Hirschfeld (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935). 



Sister Rosetta Tharpe (March 20, 1915 – October 9, 1973) was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist. As a pioneer of mid-20th-century music, she attained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her gospel recordings, characterized by a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and rhythmic accompaniment that was a precursor of rock and roll. She was the first great recording star of gospel music and among the first gospel musicians to appeal to rhythm-and-blues and rock-and-roll audiences, later being referred to as “the original soul sister” and “the Godmother of rock and roll.” She influenced early rock-and-roll musicians including Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. In 1946 Tharpe saw Marie Knight (June 1, 1920 – August 30, 2009) perform at a Mahalia Jackson concert in New York. Tharpe recognized a special talent in Knight. Two weeks later, Tharpe showed up at Knight’s doorstep. People speculated that Knight and Tharpe maintained a romantic and sexual relationship.


Fred McFeely Rogers (March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003) was an American television personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was known as the creator, composer, producer, head writer, showrunner and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968–2001). The show featured Rogers’s kind, neighborly persona, which nurtured his connection to the audience. Rogers would end each program by telling his viewers, “You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you; and I like you just the way you are.” Rogers met Sara Joanne Byrd (called Joanne) from Jacksonville, Florida, while he attended Rollins College. They were married in 1952 and remained married until his death in 2003. They had two sons, James and John. According to biographer Maxwell King, close associates said that Rogers was “absolutely faithful to his marriage vows.” Also according to King, in an interview with Rogers’ friend William Hirsch, Rogers said that if sexuality was measured on a scale, then: “Well, you know, I must be right smack in the middle. Because I have found women attractive, and I have found men attractive,” leading some readers to describe Rogers as bisexual. In January 2018, it was announced that Tom Hanks would portray Rogers in an upcoming biographical film titled A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood directed by Marielle Heller. That same year, the documentary film Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, based on the life and legacy of Rogers, was released to critical acclaim and became the highest-grossing biographical documentary film of all time.



Author, LGBT historian, and playwright Dr. Ronni Sanlo (March 20, 1947) is born. Ronni is the Director Emeritus of the UCLA Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center (LGBT) Center and a frequent keynote speaker and consultant on LGBT issues in Higher Education. Now retired, Dr. Sanlo directed the UCLA LGBT Center, was professor and director of the UCLA Masters of Education in Student Affairs, and was a Faculty in Residence at UCLA. Prior to going to UCLA in 1997, Dr. Sanlo was the director of the LGBT Center at the University of Michigan. In a previous life, Dr. Sanlo was an HIV/AIDS surveillance officer (epidemiologist) in Florida from 1987-1994. From 1981 to 1983, Ronni was the executive direct of the Florida (LGBT civil rights) Task Force. Ronni earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida, and a masters and doctorate in education from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She developed the initial standards and guidelines for LGBT work with the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), was founding chair of the Consortium of LGBT Professionals in Higher Education, and is the originator of the award-winning Lavender Graduation, a commencement event that celebrates the lives and achievements of graduating LGBT college students (founded in 1995). Ronni continues to research and write with a focus on LGBT history which is the foundation for the award-winning documentary Letter to Anita and her play Dear Anita Bryant. While Ronni has over 100 academic publications, her post-retirement books include her memoir The Purple Golf Cart: The Misadventures of a Lesbian Grandma and an historical novel about the last five months of WWII entitled The Soldier, the Avatar, and the Holocaust. Her current projects include Readers’ Theater plays with LGBT and/or historical themes including The Soldier and the Time Traveler (2018), Sing Meadowlark (2018), Hunted (2020 and Lesbian Voices (2021). Ronni married a man in 1971, came out as a lesbian in 1979, and lost custody of her two young children in Florida that same year. Ronni and her wife Kelly Watson were married in 2016.



The United States Supreme Court denies certiorari to Frank Kameny’s (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011) petition to review the legality of his firing by the United States Army’s Map Service in 1957, bringing his four-year legal battle to a close.



Twenty-three year old David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016) marries nineteen year old Mary Angela Barnett. A few years later, Bowie explains how they met. “Angela and I knew each other because we were both going out with the same man.” Angie Bowie went on to a career in Hollywood. The two divorced in 1980. Bowie was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in popular music for over five decades, acclaimed by critics and fellow musicians for his innovative work. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, his music and stagecraft significantly influencing popular music.


1975, Canada

Gays of Ottawa (GO) picket the police station and office of the Ottawa Journal to protest arrests and homophobic media coverage of arrests in a so-called Sex Scandal.



The Arkansas State House of Representatives unanimously passes a resolution in praise of Anita Bryant and her anti-gay and lesbian rights campaign.



The San Francisco Board of Supervisor passes what is described as “the most stringent gay rights law in the country.”  Only one of the eleven supervisors — Dan White — votes against the ordinance. Later that year, he murders Harvey Milk  (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978).



After fourteen years, the New York City Council finally passes a gay rights ordinance with a vote of 21 to 14.  Mayor Ed Koch tells reporters, “The sky is not going to fall.  There isn’t going to be any dramatic change in the life of this city.”



Butterfly opens on Broadway. The play by David Henry Hwang is about a civil servant attached to the French embassy in China who falls in love with a beautiful Chinese opera diva who is a “man masquerading as a woman.” They are together for twenty years until the truth is revealed. The civil servant is convicted of treason and imprisoned, then kills himself.



Queer Nation forms in New York to eliminate homophobia and increase visibility of LGBT people. It was founded by AIDS activists from ACT UP. The four founders were outraged at the escalation of anti-gay violence on the streets and prejudice in the arts and media. The group is known for its confrontational tactics, its slogans, and the practice of outing. On March 20, 1990, sixty LGBTQ people gathered at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Services Center in New York’s Greenwich Village to create a direct action organization. The goal of the unnamed organization was the elimination of homophobia, and the increase of gay, lesbian and bisexual visibility through a variety of tactics. The organization of Queer Nation, being non-hierarchical and decentralized, allowed anyone to become a member and have a voice. The group’s use of the word “queer” in its name and slogan was at first considered shocking, though the reclamation has been called a success, used in relatively mainstream television programs such as Queer Eye and Queer as Folk. The use of the word “queer” disarmed homophobes by reversing its derogatory nature


March 21


1804, France

The Napoleonic Code went into effect, one of the earliest codes to permit same-sex activity.


1962, South Africa

Abdurrazack “Zackie” Achmat (born 21 March 1962) is a South African activist and film director. He is a co-founder the Treatment Action Campaign and known worldwide for his activism on behalf of people living with HIV and AIDS in South Africa. He currently serves as Board member and Co-director of Ndifuna Ukwazi (Dare to Know), an organization which aims to build and support social justice organizations and leaders, and is the Chairperson of Equal Education. Achmat co-founded the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality in 1994, and as its director he ensured protections for gays and lesbians in the new South African Constitution, and facilitated the prosecution of cases that led to the decriminalization of Sodom and granting of equal status to same-sex partners in the immigration process. Achmat was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1990. In 2005 he suffered an attack which his doctor said was unlikely to be caused by his HIV-positive status or treatment. He recovered sufficiently to return to his activism work. On 5 January 2008, Achmat married his same-sex partner and fellow activist Dalli Weyers at a ceremony in the Cape Town suburb of Lakeside. The ceremony was attended by then Mayor Helen Zille and presided over by Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Edwin Cameron. The couple divorced amicably in June 2011.



Rosie O’Donnell (born March 21, 1962) is born. She is an American comedian, actress, author, and television personality. She has been a magazine editor and continues to be a celebrity blogger, a lesbian rights activist, a television producer, and a collaborative partner in the LGBT family vacation company, R Family Vacations.


1975, Canada

Former jockey John Damien (1933 – 1986) sues Ontario Racing Commission and individuals involved in his firing as a racing steward. Damien’s suit filed in Ontario Supreme Court alleged he was fired because he was gay. In 1986, the first legal action, a suit of wrongful dismissal against the Commission, was settled in Damien’s favor; he was awarded one year’s wages plus interest, a total of about $50,000. By this time Damien was in poor health, and he died of pancreatic cancer.


1987, Finland

Pekka Haavisto (born 23 March 1958), the first openly gay member of parliament, takes office. He is a Finnish politician and minister representing the Green League. He returned to the Finnish Parliament in the Finnish parliamentary election of March 2007 after an absence of 12 years and was re-elected again in 2011. In October 2013 he was appointed as the Minister for International Development after Heidi Hautala resigned from the job. He has also been a member of the Helsinki City Council.



Tom Hanks wins best actor Oscar for Philadelphia. The film was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. It was written by Ron Nyswaner, directed by Jonathan Demme and stars Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington.



The remains of Steen Keith Fenrich (1981 – September 9, 1999) are discovered. The gay African-American teen was tortured and murdered by his white homophobic racist stepfather who committed suicide.



Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) is founded by David Jay. AVEN hosts the world’s largest online asexual community as well as a large archive of resources on asexuality. AVEN strives to create open, honest discussion about asexuality among sexual and asexual people alike. An asexual person does not experience sexual attraction – they are not drawn to people sexually and do not desire to act upon attraction to others in a sexual way. Unlike celibacy, which is a choice to abstain from sexual activity, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who one is.



First national Native AIDS Awareness Day. National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is observed each year on the first days of Spring. This day is an opportunity for people across the United States to learn about HIV/AIDS, the need for HIV testing among Native Americans, and ways that everyone can help decrease the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS in their own communities. It was moved to March 20th.



San Francisco renames Terminal 1 at the San Francisco International Airport after slain LGBT supervisor Harvey Milk and installs artwork memorializing the civil rights icon. The name change was first introduced in 2013 by then-Supervisor David Campos who had initially hoped to name the entire airport after Milk but the proposal met with opposition. Instead, an airport naming committee was established, which recently recommended naming SFO’s Terminal 1 after Milk who was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1977. He served in the post until he was gunned down at City Hall in 1978 along with Mayor George Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White.

March 22


1822, France

Rosa Bonheur (22 March 1822 – 25 May 1899) was born in Bordeaux, France. She was a French artist, an animalière (painter of animals) and sculptor, known for her artistic realism. Her most well-known paintings are Ploughing in the Nivernais, first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1848, and now at Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and The Horse Fair (in French: Le marché aux chevaux), which was exhibited at the Salon of 1853 (finished in 1855) and is now in the Art in New York City. Bonheur was widely considered to be the most famous female painter during the nineteenth century. In her romantic life, she was fairly openly a lesbian; she lived with her first partner, Nathalie Micas  (1824 – June 24, 1889) for over 40 years until Micas’ death, and later began a relationship with the American painter Anna Elizabeth Klumpke (October 28, 1856 – February 9, 1942). At a time when lesbian sex was regarded as animalistic and deranged by most French officials, Bonheur’s outspokenness about her personal life was groundbreaking. Bonheur was buried together with Nathalie Micas at Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, and later Klumpke joined them.



Stephen Sondheim (born March 22, 1930) is born. He is an American composer and lyricist known for more than a half-century of contributions to musical theater. Sondheim has received an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards (more than any other composer, including a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre), eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been described by Frank Rich of The New York Times as “now the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater.” Sondheim is in a relationship with Jeff Romley (born 1978), and lived with dramatist Peter Jones for eight years (until 1999).



The Equal Rights Amendment, banning discrimination on the basis of sex, passes the U.S. Senate. Opponents of the amendment claim it will destroy the nuclear family, give broad civil rights to homosexuals, and even mandate unisex rest rooms in public.  Though by the end of 1972, twenty-two of the required thirty-eight states had ratified it, the ERA failed to receive the requisite number of ratifications before the final deadline mandated by Congress of June 30, 1982 expired, so it was never adopted.



New Jersey Superior Court rules that transsexual people may marry based on their reassigned sex.



Lawrence Poirier comes out to his best friend Michael in cartoonist Lynn Johnston’s popular comic strip For Better or for Worse. Some 40 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada refuse to run the four-week story; thousands cancel subscriptions to papers that do; in the end, however, 70 percent of the more than 2,500 letters Johnston receives about the series are positive.



The Montana state senate amends a bill mandating registration of persons previously convicted of “violent” crimes to include “deviate sexual conduct.” The bill would require anyone convicted of oral or anal sex with a member of his or her own sex to register with the local Law Enforcement authority.



In Oregon, the commissioners of Benton County decided not to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This reversal of an earlier vote was due to receiving a letter from state attorney general Hardy Myers on the matter. In place of same-sex marriage licenses, the commissioners decided to stop issuing any marriage licenses to anyone at all until the Oregon Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the discriminatory provisions of Oregon’s marriage laws.


March 23


1555, Italy

Pope Julius III (10 September 1487 – 23 March 1555) dies. He ruled from 1550 to 1555. Famous as “a skilled expert in canon law” and a patron of the arts, Julius also “created one of the most notorious homosexual scandals in the history of the papacy.” While still Cardinal Giovanni Maria del Monte, the pontiff fell in love with a 15-year old named Innocenzo. Two years later del Monte, now Pope, made Innocenzo a cardinal and his “chief diplomatic and political agent.”


1874, Germany

C. Leyendecker (March23,1974 – July 25,1951) is born. He was one of the preeminent American illustrators of the early 20th century. He is best known for his poster, book and advertising illustrations, the trade character known as The Arrow Collar Man, and his numerous covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Between 1896 and 1950, Leyendecker painted more than 400 magazine covers. During the Golden Age of American Illustration, for The Saturday Evening Post alone, J. C. Leyendecker produced 322 covers as well as many advertisement illustrations for its interior pages. No other artist, until the arrival of Norman Rockwell two decades later, was so solidly identified with one publication. Leyendecker “virtually invented the whole idea of modern magazine design. Leyendecker never married and lived with Charles Beach (1886 – 1952) for much of his adult life. Beach is assumed to have been his lover and who was the original model of the famous Arrow Collar Man.


1903, Morocco

A letter from Frances Hodgkin (28 April 1869 – 13 May 1947) to Dorothy Kate Richmond (12 September 1861 – 16 April 1935) begging her to join her in Morocco was written on this day. The two New Zealand painters were travel partners and lived together in Wellington. Hodgkins was a painter chiefly of landscape and still life, and for a short period was a designer of textiles. She was born in New Zealand but spent most of her working life in Britain. She is considered one of New Zealand’s most prestigious and influential painters, although it is the work from her life in Europe, rather than her home country, on which her reputation rests. Richmond was a New Zealand painter noted for her watercolor paintings of natural plants and animals and panoramic landscapes.



Terrance “Terry” Sweeney (born March 23, 1950) is an American writer, comedian and actor. He was SNL’s first openly gay male cast member and was “out” prior to being hired as a cast member. Sweeney’s run on the show came at a time when there were few openly gay characters or actors on television. For roughly 27 years, there were no other openly gay cast members on SNL until Kate McKinnon (born January 6, 1984), a former cast member of Logo’s The Big Gay Sketch Show, was added to the cast in April 2012. Terry Sweeney’s partner is Lanier Laney (born 03/18/1956), a comedy writer who also wrote for SNL in the 1985–1986 season.



Frank Kameny  (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011) is the first openly gay person to run for a U.S. Congressional seat, representing Washington D.C. He loses the election. Kameny was an American gay rights activist and referred to as “one of the most significant figures” in the American gay rights movement. In 1957, Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the U.S. Army‘s Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. because of his homosexuality, leading him to begin “a Herculean struggle with the American establishment” that would “spearhead a new period of militancy in the homosexual rights movement of the early 1960s.” Kameny formally appealed his firing to the U.S. Civil Service Commission due to homosexuality. Although unsuccessful, the proceeding was notable as the first known civil rights claim based on sexual orientation pursued in a U.S. court.


1988, Israel

Israel decriminalizes same-sex acts between consenting adults.



Threatened with an economic boycott and faced with strong opposition from state and national lesbian and gay activists, the Montana Senate unanimously votes to delete same-sex acts from a list of crimes for which convicts have to register with local authorities.



President Bush’s proposed ban on same-sex marriage is denounced by Coretta Scott King (April 27, 1927 – January 30, 2006) who was an American author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.


2005, St. Kitts and Nevis

The Windjammer Barefoot Cruise ship with 110 gay men is not allowed to dock on the island. Officials stated that they don’t want homosexuality to be part of their culture.



The Trump administration announces a new policy that bans most transgender people from serving in military. After several court battles, the Supreme Court allows the ban to go into effect in January 2019.


March 24


1794, France

Anacharsis Cloots (24 June 1755 – 24 March 1794), originally known as Jean-Baptiste du Val-de-Grâce, Baron de Cloots, was an orator and a New Atheist long before New Atheism was a thing. He was embroiled in revolutionary politics before being used as a scapegoat by the same revolutionaries who guillotined him on this day.  Some of his oratory indicates that he was likely an outspoken ally of lesbians and gay men.



Margarethe “Grethe” Cammermeyer (born March 24, 1942) served as a colonel in the Washington National Guard and became a gay rights activist. In 1989, responding to a question during a routine security clearance interview, she disclosed that she is a lesbian. The National Guard began military discharge proceedings against her. On June 11, 1992, she was honorably discharged. Cammermeyer filed a lawsuit against the decision in civil court. In June 1994, Judge Thomas Zilly of Washington ruled that her discharge and the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the military were unconstitutional. She returned to the National Guard and served as one of the few openly gay or lesbian people in the U.S. military while the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy was in effect, until her retirement in 1997. In 2012, after same-sex marriage was legalized in Washington state, Cammermeyer and her wife Diane Divelbess became the first same-sex couple to get a license in Island County.



In defiance of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, a federal judge grants U.S. citizenship to a 24-year old gay man from Cuba, ruling that an applicant’s homosexuality cannot in itself bar a person from becoming a citizen.


1976, Argentina

A military coup leads to seven years of brutal dictatorship during which gay and lesbian meeting places are frequently raided, and some 400 gay men are “disappeared,” that is, kidnapped, tortured, and killed by military commandos.



William Hurt wins the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as a homosexual window dresser in Kiss of the Spider Woman. It’s the first time someone wins an Oscar for portraying a gay character.



ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) stages its first major political action in the financial heart of New York City to demand that the federal government stop dragging its feet on the approval of new drugs that might benefit people with AIDS. Seventeen protesters are arrested for obstructing traffic when they sit down in the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street.



The March for Our Lives is led by 18 year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzales. She is president of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). She told the Washington Post that she identifies as bisexual. Suddenly her fierce badassery just made that much more sense for a whole lot of people, particularly fellow LGBTQ folks and queer activists for whom self-identity and a willingness to stand up for justice has long been inextricably linked.

March 25


1947, UK

Multiple Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Sir Elton John (25 March 1947) is born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in Pinner Middlesex. He is an English singer, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. In his five-decade career Elton John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 U.S. albums, 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10, four No. 2 and nine No. 1. For 31 consecutive years (1970–2000) he had at least one song in the Billboard Hot 100. His tribute single “Candle in the Wind 1997,” re-penned in dedication to the late Princess Diana, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling single in the history of the U.K. and U.S. singles charts. He came out in Rolling Stone Magazine in 1978. In 1993, he began a relationship with David Furnish (born 25 October 1962), a former advertising executive and now filmmaker originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. On 21 December 2005 (the day the Civil Partnership Act came into force), John and Furnish were amongst the first couples in the UK to form a civil partnership which was held at the Windsor Guildhall. After gay marriage became legal in England in March 2014, John and Furnish married in Windsor, Berkshire, on 21 December 2014, the ninth anniversary of their civil partnership.



Gene Walsh, founder of FireFlag, was born in Brooklyn, NY. Walsh was the first New York City Firefighter to risk his career by publicly coming out “on the job” in the traditionally homophobic Fire Department of New York, and later did so at the national level appearing on syndicated television’s  Joan Rivers Show. With the support of other closeted gay Firefighters and members of Gay Officers Action League-NY, Walsh founded FireFlag, an organization that serves to raise awareness, provide official representation, education and peer support for LGBT fire services personnel. The organization was later renamed FireFlag/EMS to include Emergency Service personnel. Walsh secured the organizations formal incorporation on February 28, 1992, and thereafter achieved FireFlag/EMS equal and official fraternal organization status within the City of New York and FDNY .



Susannah “Susie” Bright, also known as Susie Sexpert (born March 25, 1958), is an American feminist, author, journalist, critic, editor, publisher, producer, and performer, often on the subject of sexual politics and sexuality. She is one of the first writers/activists referred to as a sex-positive feminist. Her papers are part of the Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell University Library along with the archives of On Our Backs.  She has lived with her partner Jon Bailiff since 1993, and previously lived with her partner Honey Lee Cottrell in the 1980s. She has written extensively about her sexuality and family relationships in her memoirs, creative nonfiction, and blog, Susie Bright’s Journal, including topics of bisexuality, non-monogamy, lesbian life, homeschooling, and extended families and lovers.



Danton R. Remoto (born March 25, 1963) is a Filipino writer, essayist, reporter, editor, columnist, and professor. Remoto was a first prize recipient at the ASEAN Letter-Writing Contest for Young People. The award made Remoto a scholar at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. As a professor, Remoto teaches English and Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University. Remoto is the chair emeritus of Ang Ladlad, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) political party in the Philippines.



WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes is born. Sheryl Denise Swoopes (born March 25, 1971) is a retired American professional basketball player. She was the first player to be signed in the WNBA, is a three-time WNBA MVP, and was named one of the league’s Top 15 Players of All Time at the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game. Swoopes has won three Olympic gold medals. She was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. In 2017, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. In October 2005 announced she was gay, becoming one of the highest-profile athletes in a team sport to do so publicly. Swoopes said, “it doesn’t change who I am. I can’t help who I fall in love with. No one can. … Discovering I’m gay just sort of happened much later in life. Being intimate with [Alisa] or any other woman never entered my mind. At the same time, I’m a firm believer that when you fall in love with somebody, you can’t control that.” She and her partner, former basketball player and Houston Comets assistant coach Alisa Scott, together raised Swoopes’ son. The couple broke up in 2011. Swoopes later that year got engaged to Chris Unclesho, a longtime male friend, to whom she is now married.



Andrew Scott Goldstein (born March 25, 1983) is the first American male team-sport professional athlete to be openly gay during his playing career. He came out publicly in 2003 and was drafted by his hometown team, the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse, in 2005. Goldstein played goal tender for the Long Island Lizards from 2005 to 2007, appearing in two games in 2006. In 2013, Goldstein was inducted into the inaugural class of the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.



This was a pivotal year for the Oscars: Vanessa Redgrave is the first woman to be nominated for Best Actress playing a lesbian role in The Bostonians; The Times of Harvey Milk wins Best Documentary, the first documentary on a gay subject to do so, and nearly a billion viewers hear director, Richard Schmeichen (July 10, 1947 – April 7, 1993) express his thanks to his partner in life, John Wright.



Robert Joffrey (December 24, 1930 – March 25, 1988), founder and artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet, dies in New York City at the age of fifty-seven of AIDS related illness. Originally named Abdulla Jaffa Anver Bey Khan, Joffrey was a dancer, teacher, producer, and choreographer, known for his highly imaginative modern ballets. As the founder and artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet—a company renowned for its wide-ranging repertory and exuberant young performers—Joffrey was an advocate for gender balance in the dance world. His lover was Gerald Arpino (January 14, 1923 – October 29, 2008), an American dancer and choreographer. He was co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet and succeeded Robert Joffrey as its artistic director in 1988. In 2014 Arpino was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.

March 26


1859, UK

E. Houseman (26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936) was born in Worcestershire, England. He was an English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems wistfully evoke the dooms and disappointments of youth in the English countryside. Their beauty, simplicity and distinctive imagery appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, and to many early 20th-century English composers both before and after the First World War. Through their song-settings, the poems became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself. Housman was one of the foremost classicists of his age and has been ranked as one of the greatest scholars who ever lived. His homosexuality and his love for Moses Jackson often appeared in his poetry.



Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983) was an American playwright. Along with Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller he is considered among the three foremost playwrights in 20th-century American drama. After some early attempts at relationships with women, by the late 1930s Williams had finally accepted his homosexuality. In New York City he joined a gay social circle which included fellow writer and close friend Donald Windham (1920–2010) and his then partner Fred Melton. In the summer of 1940 Williams initiated an affair with Kip Kiernan (1918–1944), a young Canadian dancer he met in Provincetown, Massachusetts. When Kiernan left him to marry a woman, he was distraught, and Kiernan’s death four years later at 26 delivered another heavy blow. On February 25, 1983, Williams was found dead in his suite at the Elysée in New York at age 71.



The San Francisco Society for Individual Rights (SIR) president Leo Laurence and his lover are featured in a photo-illustrated article in the Berkeley Barb. Calling for “the Homosexual Revolution of 1969,” Laurence exhorts gay men and lesbians to join the Black Panthers and other left-wing groups and to “come out” en masse.



Gay playwright Noel Coward (16 December 1899 – 26 March 1973) dies in Jamaica at the age of 73. He  was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called “a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise”. In 1914, when Coward was fourteen, he became the protégé and probably the lover of Philip Streatfeild, a society painter. Coward was homosexual but, following the convention of his times, this was never publicly mentioned. Coward’s most important relationship, which began in the mid-1940s and lasted until his death, was with the South African stage and film actor Graham Payn (25 April 1918 – 4 November 2005).



The first formal meeting of PFLAG  – Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (later broadened to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) – took place on 26 March 1973 at the Metropolitan-Duane Methodist Church in Greenwich Village (now the Church of the Village). Approximately 20 people attended, including founder Jeanne Manford (December 4, 1920 – January 8, 2013), her husband Jules, her son Morty (1951-1992), Dick and Amy Ashworth, Metropolitan Community Church founder Reverend Troy Perry (born July 27, 1940), and more.



After the local district attorney’s office rules that there are no county laws preventing two people of the same-sex from getting married, Boulder, Colorado county clerk Clela Rorex issues a marriage license to two gay men, Dave McCord and Dave Zamora. It is the first same-sex marriage license issued in the United States. She says in a statement, “I don’t profess to be knowledgeable about homosexuality or even understand it, but it’s not my business why people get married.  No minority should be discriminated against.”



First time openly lesbian and gay people are welcomed into the White House and the first official discussion of lesbian and gay rights takes place. The leaders include Charlotte Bunch (born October 13, 1944), Frank Kameny (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011), Elaine Noble (born January 22, 1944), Troy Perry (born July 27, 1940), Betty Powell, George Raya, Myra Riddell, Charlotte Spitzer and Bruce Voeller (1935-1994).



A 4-4 tie vote in the U.S. Supreme Court effectively overturns an Oklahoma law that would have banned homosexuals, or those defending or “promoting” the homosexual “lifestyle,” from teaching in the state’s public schools



Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt  wins the Academy Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary. It is the second Oscar for gay filmmaker Rob Epstein (born April 6, 1955) who received the first one six years earlier for The Times of Harvey Milk. Epstein is the currently the co-chair of the Film Program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and Oakland, California.



Fashion designer Halston (Roy Halston Frowick) (April 23, 1932 – March 26, 1990) dies of AIDS at age fifty-seven. He was an American fashion designer who rose to international fame in the 1970s. His minimalist, clean designs, often made of cashmere or ultrasuede, were popular fashion wear in mid-1970s discotheques and redefined American fashion. An American designer, Halston was well known for creating a style for “American Women.” From his point of view, the “American Woman” was about having a relaxed urban lifestyle. He created a new phenomenon in the 1970s. Halston believed that women can wear the same clothing for the entire day on any occasion. Halston became a well-recognized fixture of the 1970s club scene in Manhattan. He was frequently photographed at Studio 54 with his close friends Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger and artist Andy Warhol. Halston’s on again-off again lover was Venezuelan-born artist Victor Hugo (1942 – 1993). The two met while Hugo was working as a make-up artist in 1972. The two began a relationship and Hugo lived on and off in Halston’s home. Halston soon hired Hugo to work as his window dresser.



The first official meeting of people brought together to discuss gay and lesbian rights is held at the White House. Bill Clinton is president.



Hilary Swank wins Oscar for the film Boys Don’t Cry. She thanks Brandon Teena (December 12, 1972 – December 31, 1993) during her acceptance speech. Teena’s mother takes offense at Swank’s use of the male name and reference to Teena as male: “That set me off. She should not stand up there and thank my child. I get tired of people taking credit for what they don’t know.”



Jewish Theological Seminary of America begins accepting openly lesbian, gay, and bisexual students.


2009, Serbia

Serbian Parliament approves an anti-discrimination law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in every area.



The Gay pride flag is flown by Alan Lowenthal (D) in Washington D.C., the first member of Congress to do so. Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), a long-time supporter of the LGBTQ community and the first member of Congress to display the pride flag outside his Washington D.C. office, pledged to continue “to fly the Pride Flag outside my office as a symbol of tolerance, love, and inclusivity to every visitor to Capitol Hill.”


March 27


1943, The Netherlands

A group of resistance activists led by Willem Arondeus (22 August 1894 – 1 July 1943), a gay man, dress as German soldiers, infiltrate the citizen registration building, and destroy it, hindering the Nazi German effort to identify Dutch Jews. The attack inspires similar ones throughout The Netherlands. Arondeus was a Dutch artist and author who joined the Dutch anti-Nazi resistance movement during World War II. Arondeus was caught and executed soon after his arrest. He was openly gay before the war and defiantly asserted his sexuality before his execution. His final words were “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards”.


1952, France

Actress Maria Schneider (27 March 1952 – 3 February 2011) was born in Paris. The highlight of her career came playing opposite Marlon Brandon in Last Tango in Paris. Schneider worked in more than 50 films and television productions between 1969 and 2008. Throughout her career, she was a strong advocate for improving the work of women in film. In 1974, Schneider came out as bisexual. In early 1976, she abandoned the film set of Caligula and checked herself into a mental hospital in Rome for several days to be with her lover, photographer Joan Townsend. This, coupled with her refusal to perform nude, led to Schneider’s dismissal from the film.



On Face the Nation, White House press secretary Jody Powell defends charges that the Carter Administration panders to gay activists by saying, “For an organized group who feel they have a grievance that they are not treated fairly, for them to have a right to put that grievance before high officials and say ‘We want redress,’ that to me is what the essence of America is all about.  What I feel about gay rights or any other group doesn’t have a thing in the world to do with it.”


March 28



Lesbian Katharine Lee Bates (August 12, 1859 – March 28, 1929), author of the song America the Beautiful, dies. Bates was a full professor of English literature at Wellesley College. She lived in Wellesley with Katharine Coman who 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.



Writer Jane Rule (28 March 1931 – 27 November 2007) is born in New Jersey. In 1956, Rule moved to Canada. Her 1975 work “Lesbian Images” set down what it meant for her to be a lesbian and compared her experiences with other famous women. It was hailed as a landmark and helped earn her an Order of British Columbia medal. In 1964, Rule published Desert of the Heart after 22 rejections from publishers. Rule’s novel was later made into a movie by Donna Deitch, released as Desert Hearts (1985). The Globe and Mail said, “the film is one of the first and most highly regarded works in which a lesbian relationship is depicted favorably.” Rule taught at Concord Academy in Massachusetts where she met Helen Sonthoff (September 11, 1916 – January 3, 2000). Rule and Sonthoff lived together until Sonthoff’s death in 2000. Rule surprised some in the gay community by declaring herself against gay marriage, writing, “To be forced back into the heterosexual cage of coupledom is not a step forward but a step back into state-imposed definitions of relationship. With all that we have learned, we should be helping our heterosexual brothers and sisters out of their state-defined prisons, not volunteering to join them there.” The ashes of Jane Vance Rule were interred in the Galiano Island Cemetery next to those of her beloved Helen Hubbard Wolfe Sonthoff.



Alexandra Scott Billings (born March 28, 1962) is an American actress, teacher, singer, and activist. Billings is among the first openly transgender women to have played a transgender character on television, which she did in the 2005 made-for-TV movie Romy and Michele: In The Beginning.


1979, Canada

Toronto’s police chief and the police association president both issue statements apologizing after an anti-gay article called The Homosexual Fad appears in the police association newsletter



Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She is known for her unconventionality and provocative work as well as visual experimentation. Gaga began her musical career performing songs at open mic nights and school plays. She studied at Collaborative Arts Project 21 (CAP21) through New York University‘s Tisch School of the Arts before dropping out to become a professional musician. After Def Jam Recordings canceled her contract, Gaga worked as a songwriter for Sony/ATV Music Publishing. She rose to prominence in 2008 with her debut album, a dance-pop and electropop record titled The Fame, and its chart-topping singles “Just Dance” and “Poker Face“. A follow-up EP, The Fame Monster (2009), featuring the singles “Bad Romance“, “Telephone“, and “Alejandro“, also proved successful. Gaga’s second full-length album Born This Way (2011) explored electronic rock and techno. In 2012, Gaga launched the Born This Way Foundation (BTWF), a non-profit organization that focuses on youth empowerment. As a bisexual woman, Gaga actively supports LGBT rights worldwide. She attributes much of her early success as a mainstream artist to her gay fans and is considered a gay icon.



2500 ACT-UP activists demonstrate at the New York City hall protesting Mayor Koch’s handling of the AIDS crisis. Over 100 protestors went to jail.



With the opening of the Robert Mapplethorpe (November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) exhibit less than two weeks away, law enforcement officials in Cincinnati, Ohio, warn the local Contemporary Arts Center to cancel the exhibit or risk prosecution under the city’s stringent anti-obscenity laws. “These photographs are just not welcome in this community,” says the local chief of police. “The people of this community do not cater to what others depict as art.”  After the exhibit finally opens, a Cincinnati grand jury indicts the center’s director, Dennis Barrie, on charges of obscenity and pandering.



In Mississippi, the George County Times publishes a letter from George County Justice Court Judge Connie Wilkerson which read, in part, “In my opinion, gays and lesbians should be put in some type of mental institution.” Because of the bias expressed in such a statement, an ethics violation complaint was filed against Wilkerson.


March 29



The Los Angeles Times accuses the Mattachine Society of “dangerously subversive activities.” The Mattachine Society, founded in 1950, was one of the earliest LGBT (gay rights) organizations in the United States, probably second only to Chicago‘s Society for Human Rights. Communist and labor activist Harry Hay formed the group with a collection of male friends in Los Angeles to protect and improve the rights of gay men. Branches formed in other cities and by 1961 the Society had splintered into regional groups. At the beginning of gay rights protest, news on Cuban prison work camps for homosexuals inspired Mattachine Society to organize protests at the United Nations and the White House, in 1965. In 2002, Mattachine Midwest was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. A new Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. was formed in 2011 and is dedicated to original archival research of LGBT political history.



By a vote of 6-3, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of Virginia’s sodomy laws.



The Los Angeles Times comes out in favor of gay rights and urges the U.S. Supreme Court to take a stand on more gay-related issues.



Georgetown University, the nation’s oldest Roman Catholic university, loses an eight-year legal battle to keep from having to provide facilities and financial support to the campus’s gay student groups.



The Academy Awards, produced this year by gay producer Allan Carr (May 27, 1937 – June 29, 1999), showcases a now infamous rendition of “Proud Mary” sung by Rob Lowe and an actress dressed as the Disney version of Snow White.  Says Carr before the ceremony, “It really was my childhood dream to produce the Oscars. I’m a child of the movies.” In 1966, Carr founded the talent agency Allan Carr Enterprises, managing actors Tony Curtis, Peter Sellers, Rosalind Russell, Dyan Cannon, Melina Mercouri, and Marlo Thomas and many more. In 2017 a documentary about Carr’s life was released entitled The Fabulous Allan Carr. The director of The Fabulous Allan Carr Jeffrey Schwarz said, “Although it was no secret that Allan Carr was gay, he never formally acknowledged it publicly. The word ‘flamboyant’ was used to describe him, a code word.”



Delivering his first speech on AIDS since he took office fourteen months earlier, President Bush is heckled by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force director Urvashi Vaid (October 8, 1958), who hollers, “We need your leadership! We need more than one speech every fourteen months!” Vaid, holding a sign reading “TALK IS CHEAP, AIDS FUNDING IS NOT,” is quickly “escorted” from the auditorium by police



Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore in New York, the first LGBTQ bookstore in the country, closes. It had opened in 1967. Craig Rodwell (October 31, 1940 – June 18, 1993) opened the New York City-based Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop in 1967. It was the first bookstore devoted to gay and lesbian authors. Initially located at 291 Mercer Street, it moved in 1973 to Christopher Street and Gay Street in New York City‘s Village neighborhood. It was named after author Oscar Wilde.


March 30



The first performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance theater in New York occurred on this day. Alvin Alley (January 5, 1931 – December 1, 1989) was a gay man who died from complications of AIDS in 1989 at the age of 58. He was an African-American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. He is credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th-century concert dance. His company gained the nickname “Cultural Ambassador to the World” because of its extensive international touring. Ailey’s choreographic masterpiece Revelations is believed to be the best known and most often seen modern dance performance. In 1977, Ailey was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP. He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1988. In 2014, President Barack Obama selected Ailey to be a posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.



Tracy Chapman (born March 30, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter and a multi-platinum and four-time Grammy Award-winning artist. She is known for her hits “Fast Car” and “Give Me One Reason” along with other singles “Talkin ’bout a Revolution,” “Baby Can I Hold You,” “Crossroads,” “New Beginning” and “Telling Stories.” Although Chapman has never publicly disclosed her sexual orientation, during the mid-1990s she was in a same-sex relationship with writer Alice Walker (born February 9, 1944). Chapman maintains a strong separation between her personal and professional life. “I have a public life that’s my work life and I have my personal life,” she said. “In some ways, the decision to keep the two things separate relates to the work I do. Chapman often performs at and attends charity events such as Make Poverty History, amfAR, and AIDS/LifeCycle, to support social causes. She identifies as a feminist.



Gilbert Baker (June 2, 1951 – March 31, 2017), an artist based in San Francisco who created the rainbow flag as a symbol for the gay community, dies at age 65. He created the gay pride flag in 1978. Baker’s flag became widely associated with LGBT rights causes, a symbol of gay pride that has become ubiquitous in the decades since its debut. California state senator Scott Wiener said Baker “helped define the modern LGBT movement”. In 2015, the Museum of Modern Art ranked the rainbow flag as an internationally recognized symbol as important as the recycling symbol. The colors on the Rainbow Flag reflect the diversity of the LGBT community. When Baker raised the first rainbow flags at San Francisco Pride (his group raised two flags at the Civic Center) on June 25, 1978, it comprised eight symbolic colors. The design has undergone several revisions to remove two colors for expediency and later re-add those colors when they became more widely available. As of 2008, the most common variant consists of six stripes, with the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Baker referred to this version of the flag as the “commercial version,” because it came about due to practical considerations of mass production. Specifically, the rainbow flag lost its hot pink stripe when Baker approached the Paramount Flag Company to begin mass-producing them, and the hot pink fabric was too rare and expensive to include. The rainbow flag lost its turquoise stripe before the 1979 Gay Freedom Day Parade, as the committee organizing the parade wanted to fly the flag in two-halves, from the light poles along both sides of Market Street, so it became a six-striped flag with equal halves. American Revolutionary War writer Thomas Paine proposed that a rainbow flag be used as a maritime flag, to signify neutral ships in time of war. In 2017, two new shades have been added to the rainbow flag: black and brown. The “new” flag debuted at the beginning of June (Pride Month) in Philadelphia to expressively represent the Black and brown members of the LGBTQ community. Although it was an effort to support and acknowledge an even more oppressed group, the new flag has received resistance and disapproval and has not yet been universally accepted.


March 31

International Transgender Day of Visibility



Barney Frank (born March 31, 1940) is born. A United States Congressman since 1980, Frank was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the world. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013. As a member of the Democratic Party, he served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee (2007–2011) and was a leading co-sponsor of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act, a sweeping reform of the U.S. financial industry. Frank, a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, is considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States. On July 7, 2012, Frank married Jim Ready, his longtime partner.



Suzanne Westenhoefer (born March 31, 1961) is an out lesbian stand-up comedian. After accepting a dare, she began her career delivering gay-themed material to straight audiences in mainstream comedy clubs in New York City in the early 1990s. She became the first openly lesbian comic to appear on television, in 1991 on an episode of Sally Jesse Raphael entitled “Breaking the Lesbian Stereotype…Lesbians Who Don’t Look Like Lesbians.” In 1991 and 1992, her stand-up comedy appeared on Comedy Central‘s Short Attention Span Theater. She became the first openly gay comic to host her own HBO Comedy Special in 1994, which earned her a Cable Ace Award nomination, and to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2003.  In 2004 she was featured in the Andrea Meyerson film Laughing Matters along with Kate Clinton (born November 9, 1947), Karen Williams, and Puerto Rican/Cuban–American comedian Marga Gomez.


1964, Canada

Ed Northe founds the Imperial Court of Canada, a monarchist society comprised primarily of drag personalities, and becomes a driving force in the effort to achieve equality in Canada. The Court of Canada now has at least 14 chapters across the country and is the oldest, continuously running GLBT Organization in Canada.


1997, UK

Premiere of the Teletubbies. Tinky Winky with his purple color, his triangle icon, and his purse, caused some to claim that Tinky is a gay role model. Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and conservative activist Jerry Falwell publicly denounces Tinky in 1999.


2014, Canada

Model and activist Geena Rocero (born 1983) comes out as transgender during her TED talk filmed in Vancouver on the Transgender Day of Visibility. She is a Filipino American supermodel, TED speaker, and transgender advocate based in New York City. Rocero is the founder of Gender Proud, an advocacy and aid organization that stands up for the right of transgender people worldwide to “self-identify with the fewest possible barriers”.