Today in LGBT History – APRIL 16

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 16

1061, Spain – The first recorded same-sex wedding occurred when Pedro Díaz and Muño Vandilaz were married by a priest at a small chapel in Rairiz de Veiga, Galicia, Spain. The records and historic documents about the church wedding were found at the Monastery of San Salvador de Celanova. It is not known whether the priest was aware of the gender of both.

1453, Italy – Leonardo da Vinci (16 April 1452 – 2 May 1519)is born. He was a prolific painter, scientist, mathematician, philosopher, architect and inventor. His most famous works are the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Along with three other young men, he was anonymously accused of sodomy (and acquitted) with Jacopo Saltarelli, a notorious prostitute, which in Florence was a criminal offense, even though the general culture attached little social stigma to homosexuality. DaVinci never married and wrote in his notebooks that male-female intercourse disgusted him. His anatomical drawings naturally include the sexual organs of both genders, but those of the male exhibit much more extensive attention. Finally, Leonardo surrounded himself with beautiful young male assistants.

1934, Australia – Robert Colin Stigwood (16 April 1934 – 4 January 2016) was an Australian-born British-resident music entrepreneur, film producer and impresario. He was best known for managing Cream and the Bee Gees, theatrical productions like Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar and film productions including the extremely successful Grease and Saturday Night Fever.

1957 – Essex Hemphill (April 16, 1957 – November 4, 1995) was an openlygayAmericanpoetandactivist. He is known for his contributions to the Washington, D.C. art scene in the 1980s, and for openly discussing the topics pertinent to the African-American gay communityHe died on November 4, 1995, of AIDS-related complications.December 10, 1995, was announced to be a National Day of Remembrance for Essex Hemphill at New York City‘s Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center. In 2014, Martin Duberman (born August 6, 1930)wrote Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS in which Duberman documents the life of Essex Hemphill, along with author and activist, Michael Callen(April 11, 1955 – December 27, 1993). The book won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Nonfiction.

1997 – Sherry Barone sues Har Jehuda Cemetery(Barone v. Har Jehuda Cemetery). Barone and Cynthia Friedman had been together for 13 years when Friedman passed away from cancer at the age of 35. In several discussions before her death, Friedman had asked that Barone include the inscription on her headstone: “Beloved life partner, daughter, granddaughter, sister and aunt.” Days after Friedman’s death, Barone signed a contract with Har Jehuda Cemetery for two adjoining plots and a headstone. Friedman’s religious principles meant the headstone should have been unveiled one year after she died, but the cemetery had refused to act on Barone’s instructions to follow her loved one’s wishes that “life partner” be included. After filing suit on Barone’s behalf, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund’s David S. Buckel (June 13, 1957 – April 14, 2018)settled with the cemetery outside of the courtroom. The cemetery agreed to erect the headstone in accordance with Friedman’s wishes and also to compensate Barone $15,000.

2012 – Katie Ricksbecomes the first open lesbian ordained by the Presbyterian Church. She is the Associate Pastor of the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill.

2018 – Donna Red Wing (1951 – April 16, 2018), a civil rights activist who campaigned for LGBTQ equality, died on this day at her home in Des Moines after an eight-month battle with cancer. She was 67.  Red Wing, who was once called as “the most dangerous woman in America” by the Christian Coalition, spent more than three decades advocating for civil rights. She was described in an obituary as a well-known national leader in the fight for LGBTQ equality. She served as executive director of One Iowa from 2012 to 2016, expanding the organization’s work into new arenas after the battle for marriage equality ended, the group said in a statement. “Donna was a force to be reckoned with and will be greatly missed by individuals across the country,” said Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, the organization’s executive director. “Donna inspired so many, including myself.” Red Wing, the first recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Faith and Freedom, worked on numerous projects, initiatives and councils that included co-chairing the Obama for America 2008 LGBT Leadership Council. Donna died of lung cancer at the age of 67, is survived by her wife and partner for more than 30 years, Sumitra, son Julian, grandson Jasper and twin brother David. 

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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