Today in LGBT History – April 13

Inspired by some young people, I’ve tried hard over the past four months to stop using the term “guys” to refer to folks in spaces in which there are people of all genders. It wasn’t easy. I’ve been a “hey, guys” person for most of my adult life. But in an effort to uplift the humanity and existence of folks without basis on gender, I’ve put this into practice. It would be cool if you tried too!     —Alexis Ortga

Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – April 13

1947  – Deborah A. Batts  (born April 13, 1947) is born. She is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and was the nation’s first openly LGBT African American federal judge. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote in 1994. (Judge Vaughn Walker of the Northern District of California served from 1989 to February, 2011 but did not come out until April 2011, after his retirement.) Batts was the sole openly LGBT judge on the federal bench for seventeen years until President Barack Obama appointed a series of gay and lesbian judges to the district courts.

1955 – Iowa enacts its “Sexual Psychopath” law in the wake of moral panic brought on by the sexual assault and murder of a boy in 1954.

1970 – In New York City, the Gay Activists Alliance borrows a tactic of the New Left and unleashes the first gay zap, a surprise disruption of a public event to call attention to a political issue. Activists begin shouting “gay power” during a public appearance by Mayor John Lindsay, who has resisted meeting with them.

1982 – In Los Angeles, U.S. congress representatives open the first committee hearings on the disease that will come to be known as AIDS.

1990 – The first public action by Queer Nation takes place at Flutie’s Bar in New York, a straight hangout at South Street Seaport. The goal is to make clear to patrons that queers will not be restricted to gay bars for socializing and for public displays of affection. This action becomes known as “Nights Out.”

1997 –Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres ( born January 26, 1958) appears on TIME Magazine’s cover with the words, ʺYep, I’m Gay.ʺ These words were spoken during the coming-out episode of her sitcom Ellen, titled “The Puppy Episode“, which was one of the highest-rated episodes of the show.

2014, Finland – The Finnish Post announces that Tom of Finland (Touko Valio Laaksonen, born 8 May 1920 – 7 November 1991), will appear on postage stamps.

Stand up, speak out, share your story!




(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at,, Lavender Effect,, Arron’s Gay Info, All Things Queer, RS Levinson, Amara Das Wilhelm,, Safe Schools Coalition, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at Thanks!)

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