Today in LGBT History – APRIL 14

Rudyard Kipling said: If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.The snippets of LGBTQ history here are the stories of our lives, the stories of the giants on whose shoulders we all stand. Learn about them then tell the stories…and remember, because knowing your history IS resistance!

Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – APRIL 14

1600, Italy – Philosopher Tomasso Campanella (5 September 1568 – 21 May 1639)is jailed and spent twenty-seven years imprisoned in Naples, in various fortresses. He was a Dominican friar, Italian philosopher, theologian, astrologer, and poet. He is overheard saying to his cellmate: “O Father Pietro, why don’t you do something so that we may sleep together, and we may get pleasure?” Pietro replied “I wish I could, and I’d even bribe the gaolers with ten ducats. But to you, my heart, I would like to give twenty kisses every hour.” Campanella was finally released from prison in 1626, through Pope Urban VIII, who personally interceded on his behalf with Philip IV of Spain. Taken to Rome and held for a time by the Holy Office, Campanella was restored to full liberty in 1629. He lived for five years in Rome, where he was Urban’s advisor in astrological matters.

1865 – President Abe Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865)is shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth while attending the comedy “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. He dies the next day. C.A. Tripp’s  (Oct. 4, 1919–2003)book The Intimate World of Abraham Lincolnmakes the case that Lincoln had several homosexual relationships throughout his life. Tripp states that Lincoln’s relationships with women were either invented by biographers (his love of Ann Rutledge) or were desolate botches (his courtship of Mary Owens and his marriage to Mary Todd). Tripp is not the first to argue that Lincoln was secretly gay. Earlier writers have parsed his friendship with Joshua Speed, the young store owner he lived with after moving to Springfield, Ill. Lincoln’s story becomes interesting when Tripp looks at 1831,when Lincoln was 22 and moved to New Salem, an Illinois frontier town, where he met Billy Greene. Greene coached Lincoln in grammar and shared a narrow bed with him. “When one turned over the other had to do likewise,” Greene told Herndon. Bed-sharing was common enough in raw settlements, but Greene also had vivid memories of Lincoln’s physique: “His thighs were as perfect as a human being could be.” Six years later, Lincoln moved to Springfield, where he met Joshua Speed, who became a close friend; John G. Nicolay and John Hay, two early biographers, called Speed “the only — as he was certainly the last — intimate friend that Lincoln ever had.”

1904, UK – British actor Sir John Gielgud (14 April 1904 – 21 May 2000)is born in London. Perhaps the greatest actor to grace a stage in the English-speaking world, Gielgud never came out publicly. Interior designer Paul Anstee was his lover for much of the 1950s.

1912 – The RMS Titanic strikes an iceberg just before midnight on April 14th.  By 2:20 AM, she broke apart and foundered, taking over one thousand three hundred people still aboard to their deaths.  Just under two hours after the Titanic foundered, the Cunard liner RMS Carpathiaarrived on the scene of the sinking, where she brought aboard an estimated 705 survivors. Among the known gay people who died on the Titanic were crew members second carpenter Michael Brice and Third Officer Sam Maxwell as well as  Archibald Willingham Butt(September 26, 1865 – April 15, 1912), who served as an influential military aide to U.S. presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

1968 – Mart Crowley’s (born August 21, 1935)play “The Boys in the Band” opens on Broadway in New York. Considered to be a groundbreaking work in American theater, the first truly “honest” portrayal of the lives of contemporary homosexuals. It ran for 1002 performances before being adapted to a successful motion picture. Few gay characters were seldom seen in commercial media except as crude stereotypes, although later in history some in the LGBT community would say that is indeed what Crowley’s play presented. Some LGBT advocates later denounced it as Uncle Tomism because they were worried about attempts to assimilate the community into straight society, ignoring what a groundbreaking piece of LGBT history the play was for the 1960s.

1980, Cuba – In Havana, thousands of citizens invade the Peruvian embassy to try to obtain permission to leave the country. Over the next few months, Fidel Castro lets more than 100,000 people leave from the port of Mariel on leaky boats and makeshift rafts. Among the refugees, many of whom have been released from prisons and mental institutions, are an estimated 25,000 gay men seeking asylum from persecution.

1983, UK – In the same year that Great Britain reports its first 17 cases of AIDS, the only UK gay magazine, Gay News, stops publication.

1985 – The first Gay Erotic Film Awards is held in Los Angeles.

1986, France – Simone de Beauvoir (January 1908 – 14 April 1986) dies. Born in Paris, France, she was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist, and social theorist. De Beauvoir had a significant influence on both feminist existentialism and feminist theory. She is known for her 1949 treatise, The Second Sex,a detailed analysis on women’s oppression. It served as a foundation for contemporary feminism. Her novels include She Came to Stayand The Mandarins. She is also known for her open relationship with French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. De Beauvoir is known to have had a number of female lovers, including some of her students. In 1943, de Beauvoir was suspended from her teaching job after she was accused of seducing her 17-year old student Natalie Sorokin. Sorokin’s parents filed formal charges against de Beauvoir for debauching a minor. It resulted in her teaching license to be permanently revoked. In the early 1960s, Beauvoir began a relationship with Sylvie le Bon which lasted to the end of Beauvoir’s life.

2014, Malta – Malta becomes the first European state to include gender identity as a protected class in its constitution.

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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