Today in LGBT History – August 15

Paraphrased from Rev. Michael Piazza: In light of the tragedies in Charlottesville, we are challenged to take a more heroic stand against racism, white nationalism, the Alt-right, and the prejudice and violence they espouse against people of color, immigrants, Jews, LGBT people, and women. Do you have the courage to confront your co-workers, your family, and your friends who think that “many sides” are the problem? That is the attitude of an immoral coward. Racism and bigotry are demonic and must be fought in every way possible. This is not negotiable. We must summon all our courage and say, “Enough!” and fearlessly confront this social evil and drive it from the temple of our communal lives. It is the only way to build our communities. It is past time to get out of the boat and confront the wind and waves, even if we get a little wet.

It takes courage even when we’re afraid. Speak up! Stand out!

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 out as homosexual, she has been described as “the first known lesbian activist“.

1891 – Dr. Charles Dana presents a paper on sexual neuroses at the New York Post-Graduate School of Medicine. Lumped together in this category were masturbation, same-sex attraction, pederasty, bestiality, flagellation, exhibitionism, sexual murder and cannibalism.

1920 – Officials at the Boise City Traction Company catch two men having sex in a restroom after installing a spy hole from above. The men are convicted of sodomy.

1937 – The New York Times Book Review features “Either is Love” by 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 American Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts who served from 1973 until 1997. He was 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 Magazine publishes 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 – Ten ACT-UP members interrupt a meeting of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for eight hours to protest lack of funding for AIDS services.

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 faggot?”

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 PattersonChris Kanyon, and Orlando Jordan (bisexual) came out after either leaving the company or retiring, Rosser is the first professional wrestler ever 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 Brezezinski (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 Sweden from 2011–2015.

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!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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