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 – AUGUST 15
1880, Germany – Journalist Anna Rüling, (August 15, 1880 – May 8, 1953) is born. In 1904 she gave a speech to the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee in Berlin, the first known public statement of the socio-legal problems faced by lesbians. Her actual name was Theodora “Theo” Anna Sprüngli. One of the first modern women to come outas homosexual, she has been described as “the first known lesbian activist“.
1937 – The New York Times Book Review features Either is Loveby Elisabeth Craigin. It was a first-person narrative of a woman who was happily married but also in love with a woman.
1963 – Strom Thurmond tries to disrupt plans for the March on Washington by announcing in the Senate that Bayard Rustin (March 17, 1912 – August 24, 1987), Dr. Martin Luther King’s right hand man and planner of the March, is a sex pervert. The tactic didn’t work and the March was a success.
1972 – Nineteen-year-old Mark Segal was arrested for barging into the studio of WPVI in Philadelphia and attempting to announce his grievance against the station on the air. Earlier in the month he and a male friend had been kicked out of a dance sponsored by the station for dancing together. It would be his first arrest of four.
1977, Canada – Stefan Maysztowicz creates the micro-nation of the Gay Parallel Republic (GPR) on 308 square miles near Quebec, centered on the city of Sherbrooke.
1978, Canada – The Quebec Human Rights Commission reconsiders an earlier decision and now agrees that the Montreal Catholic School Commission could refuse to rent premises to a gay group.
1983 – Returning to his district for the first time since his House censure, Representative Gerry E. Studds (D-Mass.) (May 12, 1937 – October 14, 2006) receives three standing ovations from supporters. He was an AmericanDemocraticCongressman from Massachusetts who served from 1973 until 1997 and the first openly gay member of Congress. In 1983 he was censured by the House of Representatives after he admitted to an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old page. Studds and partner Dean T. Hara (his companion since 1991) were married in Boston on May 24, 2004, one week after Massachusetts became the first state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage.Studds died on October 14, 2006, in Boston, at age 69, several days after suffering a pulmonary embolism.Due to the federal ban on same-sex marriage, Hara was not eligible, upon Studds’ death, to receive the pension provided to surviving spouses of former members of Congress. Hara later joined a federal lawsuit, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, that successfully challenged the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.
1985 – People Magazinepublishes an “expose” of Rock Hudson’s (November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985) homosexuality and AIDS.
1987 – Right Step Recovery Program, a Portland, Oregon, drug and alcohol treatment facility for gays and lesbians, closes due to financial problems.
1988 – The National Center for Health Statistics announces that in 1987 AIDS was the 15th leading cause of death in America.
1989 – According to an article in The Advocate, nearly eight out of ten victims of anti-gay hate crimes do not report it to the police. Reasons include fear of job loss if employers learned of the reason for the attack and fear of abuse from the police. The article includes a report of a Philadelphia man who said that after a police officer interrupted an attack, the officer allowed the attacker to leave, and refused to take the victim to the hospital. The officer asked the victim, “Are you a fa**ot?”
1994 – Over 100 people gathered to protest a sentence by district court judge David Young on David Thacker who plead guilty to killing a gay man because of his sexual orientation. He was sentenced to six years rather than the maximum sentence of fifteen years.
1996 – Rich Tafel of the Log Cabin Republicans announces that the organization would support Bob Dole for president on the homophobic Republican ticket.
1996 – After a three-year legal battle, Sharon Bottoms withdrew her petition to regain custody of her five-year-old son Tyler Doustou. A Virginia judge had ruled that her lesbianism made her an unfit mother. She was granted visitation but ordered to keep her girlfriend away from her son. Bottoms v. Bottoms was a landmark child custody case in Virginia that awarded custody of the child to the grandmother instead of the mother, primarily because the mother was a lesbian. In April 1993, Kay Bottoms sued her daughter, Sharon Bottoms, for custody of Sharon Bottoms’ son, Tyler Doustou. On April 5, 1993, judge Buford Parsons ruled that Sharon Bottoms was an unfit parent and Kay Bottoms was awarded custody of her grandson. Sharon Bottoms was allowed visitation rights two days a week, but Tyler was not allowed in his mother’s home or to have any contact with his mother’s partner.
1997, Italy – A new edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that homosexuals have deep-seated tendencies and are “objectively disorder. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity…”
2003 – Episcopal Bishops who supported Rev. Gene Robinson (May 29, 1947) to be bishop of New Hampshire began receiving hate mail.
2005 – The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) launches an education program to teach straight reporters how to cover LGBT issues.
2013 – WWE wrestler Frederick Douglas Rosser III, better known as Darren Young (born November 2, 1983) comes out. While WWE wrestlers Pat Patterson, Chris Kanyon, and Orlando Jordan (bisexual) came out after either leaving the company or retiring, Rosser is the first professional wrestler to publicly come out while still signed to a major promotion. WWE released a statement in support of Rosser for being open about his sexuality, and various fellow wrestlers tweeted their support for him.Rosser has been in a relationship with his boyfriend, Nick, since 2011. On April 26, 2017, Rosser disclosed that his mother is also gay, during his interview with the Afterbuzz TV.
2013, Sweden – Sweden issues the first family-based visa for a same-sex partner’s spouse. It is a direct result of the June 2013 decision of the US Supreme Court to expand recognition of same-sex marriage to the federal level. This allows the husband of Ambassador Mark Bezezinski (born April 7, 1965) to now travel to the United States as a fully recognized spouse. Brzezinski is an American lawyer who served as the United States Ambassador to Swedenfrom 2011–2015.
Stand up, speak out, share your story!
(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at facebook.com/quistapp, Back2Stonewall.com, Lavender Effect, DataLounge.com, Arron’s Gay Info, All Things Queer, RS Levinson, Amara Das Wilhelm, out.com, Safe Schools Coalition, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)