Today in LGBT History – August 12

Kelly and I continue with On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder (2017). Snyder presents twenty lessons from the 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today’s politics. On this blog, I present one lesson each day for 20 days (though I may insert a personal thought among the days). Kelly is posting them on our FB page called Resist with Kelly and Ronni. I hope you’ll read this little but powerfully inspirational book.

Lesson 6. Be wary of paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching with torches and pictures of a leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the end has come….For violence to transform not just the atmosphere but also the system, the emotions of rallies and the ideology of exclusion have to be incorporated into the training of armed guards. These first challenge the police and military, then penetrate the police and military, and finally transform the police and military.

Talk with your friends and loved ones who serve in the military and police. Help them stay sane in the face of group-think, and provide a safe place for them if they need to leave their service because of authoritarian rule.

Today in LGBT History – August 12

1642, France – Henri Coiffier de Ruzé, Marquis of Cinq Mars is beheaded for treason at Lyon. Cardinal Richelieu introduced King Louis XIII (September 27, 1601 – May 14, 1643)  to the marquis. Louis took him as his lover. The Marquis plotted against the king and was executed when the king discovered his plans.  Louis XIII was married Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip III of Spain. There is no evidence that Louis kept mistresses (a distinction that earned him the title “Louis the Chaste“), but persistent rumours insinuated that he may have been homosexual or at least bisexual. His interests as a teenager increasingly focused on his male courtiers, and he quickly developed an intense emotional attachment to his favourite, Charles d’Albert, although there is no clear evidence of a physical sexual relationship. Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux, drawing from rumours told to him by a critic of the King (the Marquise de Rambouillet), explicitly speculated in his Historiettes about what happened in the king’s bed. A further liaison with an equerry, François de Baradas, ended when the latter lost favour fighting a duel after duelling had been forbidden by royal decree. Louis XIII was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1610 to 1643 and King of Navarre (as Louis II) from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged with the French crown. Shortly before his ninth birthday, Louis became king of France and Navarre after his father Henry IV was assassinated. His mother, Marie de’ Medici, acted as regent during his minority.

1833, London –Captain Nicholas Nicholls, 50, is sentenced to death on a charge of sodomy. A newspaper said, “Captain Henry Nicholas Nicholls, who was one of the unnatural gang to which the late Captain Beauclerk belonged, (and which latter gentleman put an end to his existence), was convicted on the clearest evidence at Croydon, on Saturday last, of the capital offence of Sodomy; the prisoner was perfectly calm and unmoved throughout the trial, and even when sentence of death was passed upon him.”

1859 – Lesbian Katharine Lee Bates, (August 12, 1859 – March 28, 1929), an American songwriter, is born.  She is remembered as the author of the words to the anthem “America the Beautiful“. She had graduated from Wellesley then became a professor there. Bates was a prolific author of many volumes of poetry, travel books, and children’s books. She popularized Mrs. Claus in her poem Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride from the collection Sunshine and other Verses for Children (1889). Bates never married. In 1910, when a colleague described “free-flying spinsters” as “fringe on the garment of life”, Bates answered: “I always thought the fringe had the best of it. I don’t think I mind not being woven in.” Bates 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. Bates was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. In 2012, she was named by Equality Forum as one of their 31 Icons of the 2015 LGBT History Month.

1880, UK – Radclyffe Hall (August 12, 1880 – October 7, 1943) is born in Bournemouth, England. She was an English poet and author and is best known for the novel The Well of Loneliness, a groundbreaking work in lesbian literature. In 1915 Hall fell in love with Una Troubridge(1887–1963), a sculptor who was the wife of Vice-Admiral Ernest Troubridge, and the mother of a young daughter. Batten died the following year, and in 1917 Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge began living together. From 1924 to 1929 they lived at 37 Holland Street, Kensington, London. The relationship would last until Hall’s death. In 1934 Hall fell in love with Russian émigrée Evguenia Souline and embarked upon a long-term affair with her, which Troubridge painfully tolerated. She became involved in affairs with other women throughout the years.

1907 – Gladys Bentley is born (August 12, 1907 – January 18, 1960) to a Trinidadian mom and an African-American dad. She would grow up to become a respected blues singer. She was an American blues singer, pianist and entertainer during the Harlem Renaissance. Bentley was openly lesbian (a “bulldagger” in the parlance of the day) and even once told a gossip columnist she had married a woman. Bentley said that her first marriage was to a white woman in New York, whose identity remains unknown. When she relocated to Los Angeles, she married J. T. Gipson, who died in 1952, the same year in which she married Charles Roberts, a cook in Los Angeles; they were married in Santa Barbara, California, went on a honeymoon in Mexico, and had a five-month-long courtship before their divorce. Roberts denied ever marrying her. Bentley died of pneumonia in Los Angeles in 1960, aged 52.

August 12-17, 1968 – The North American Conference of Homophile Organizations, nicknamed NACHO, made up of delegates from 26 groups, convenes in Chicago to discuss goals and strategy. Although delegates fail to form a unified national organization, they pass a five-point “Homosexual Bill of Rights” and resolve to make “Gay Is Good” the slogan of the movement.

1977 – The Fraternal Order of Police in Rhode Island pass a resolution discouraging the hiring of lesbian or gay police officers.

August 12-16, 1979 – An Ontario government administrative tribunal holds hearings to determine whether gay group home Tri-Aid should be licensed in order to quality for government funding and referrals. No gay group home has been licensed to this point.

1992 – Sharon McCracken becomes the first openly lesbian person to be licensed as a foster parent in Florida.

1993 – The Kansas City, Missouri City Council votes 11-1 to approve a hate crimes bill that includes anti-gay crimes.

1993 – Federal district court judge William Bassler of Newark, New Jersey rejects a challenge to the state gay rights law.

1996 – Mary Fisher (born April 6, 1948) addresses the Republican convention in San Diego to remind them that AIDS is caused by infection, not immorality. She is an American political activistartist and author. After contracting HIV from her second husband, she has become an outspoken HIV/AIDS activist for the prevention, education and for the compassionate treatment of people with HIV and AIDS. She is particularly noted for speeches before two Republican Conventions: Houston in 1992 and San Diego in 1996. The 1992 speech has been hailed as “one of the best American speeches of the 20th Century.” She is founder of a non-profit organization to fund HIV/AIDS research and education, the Mary Fisher Clinical AIDS Research and Education (CARE) Fund. Since May 2006, she has been a global emissary for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

2004 – “I am a gay American” New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey (born August 6, 1957) tells a news conference that he is gay and that he appointed his lover to a high government office for which he was not qualified. He said he would resign from office.

2005, Japan – Kanako Otsuji (December 16, 1974), an assemblywoman, is the first politician to come out in Japan. She is a Japanese LGBT rights activist and former member of the House of Councilors of the National Diet of Japan. She was also a member of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly (April 2003–April 2007). One of only seven women in the 110-member Osaka Assembly, Otsuji represented the Sakai-ku, Sakai City constituency. In May 2013, after her party member of the House resigned, Otsuji became the nation’s first openly homosexual member of the Diet, but her term in office expired in July.

2009 – Harvey Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) is posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama. Harvey Milk was an American politician and the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Despite being the most pro-LGBT politician in the United States at the time, politics and activism were not his early interests; he was neither open about his sexuality nor civically active until he was 40, after his experiences in the counterculture movement of the 1960s. He and San Francisco Mayor Mascone were assassinated on Nov. 27, 1978. In July 2016, US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus named the second ship of the Military Sealift Command‘s John Lewis-class oilersUSNS Harvey Milk.

2012, Uganda – First Pride parade. The Grand Marshall is Maurice Tomlinson, an LGBT activist from Jamaica. Police raid the event and detain participants but they are released without charges.

Let your voice speak out and change the world! 




(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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