Today in LGBT History – APRIL 8

My play Dear Anita Bryant was performed last evening at the Desert Rose Playhouse in Rancho Mirage, CA. The 100 seat theater provided such anm intimate take on this emotional, sometimes funny story of LGBT history through a letter written to Anita Bryant. The cast was spot on, the audience was deeply engaged, and I was a wreck until it was over. Luckily Kelly was supporting me during the performance as a good wife and executive produce would. The evening was magical! I look forward to seeing it produced elsewhere in the near future. Wow! I’m a playwright!!

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 8

1787, Russia– The Russian Empire annexes the Crimean Khanate, thus legalizing same-sex intercourse in the annexed territory.

1942 – In 1978 comedian Robin Tyler (born April 8, 1942) became the first out lesbian on U.S. national television, appearing on a Showtime comedy special hosted by Phyllis Diller. The same year she released her comedy album, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom, the first comedy album by an out lesbian. Robin was the main stage producer of the 1979, 1987, and 1993 Marches on Washington for LGBT rights. In 2000, she was the co-founder and national rally coordinator for, a campaign against the quackery of Dr. Laura Schlesinger, a radio personality who routinely spread homophobia over the airwaves.Canadian-born, Robin Tyler was also the first North American speaker to address major LGBT rallies in England, Canada, France, Mexico, and South Africa. She performed her comedy show in Moscow in 1990, at the first LGBT international conference in Russia. Robin was the Executive Director of The Equality Campaign, and the first lesbian plaintiff to sue the state of California challenging the state’s ban on same sex marriage (2004-2008) – after a successful win, she and her partner Diane Olsen were the first to receive their marriage license in the state. 

1949 –  In 2007 Theresa Sparks (born on April 8, 1949) was elected president of the San Francisco Police Commission by a single vote, making her the first openly transgender person ever to be elected president of any San Francisco commission, as well as San Francisco’s highest ranking openly transgender official. Theresa Sparks is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and was a candidate for San Francisco Supervisor for District 6 in the November 2010 election. She is a former president of the San Francisco Police Commission and former CEO of Good Vibrations. She is also one of San Francisco’s most famous transgender women and was a Grand Marshal in the 2008 San Francisco PrideParade.

1974 – The American Psychiatric Association remove its “sickness” definition of homosexuality and outrages homophobic bigots across America. 

1990 – Ryan White (December 6, 1971 – April 8, 1990), 18, dies of AIDS after a five-year battle with the disease.  Ryan became the national poster childfor HIV/AIDS in the United States, after being expelled from middle school in Kokomo, Indiana, because of his infection. As a hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment and, when diagnosed in December 1984, was given six months to live. Doctors said he posed no risk to other students, but AIDS was poorly understood at the time, and when White tried to return to school, many parents and teachers in Kokomorallied against his attendance. A lengthy legal battle with the school system ensued, and media coverage of the case made White into a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research and public education. Surprising his doctors, Ryan lived five years longer than predicted but died in April 1990, one month before his high school graduation.

2013, Zambia – Gay rights activist Paul Kasonkomona is arrested after appearing on live TV calling for same-sex relations to be decriminalized.

2014, Spain – The Galician Parliament passes LGBT anti-discrimination law.

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!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.