Today in LGBT History – August 8

When someone with the authority of a teacher describes the world and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium, as if you looked into a mirror and saw nothing.  —Adrienne Rich

Learning our history IS resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – August 8

1922, Austria – Rudolf “Rudi” Gernreich (August 8, 1922 – April 21, 1985) is born. He was an Austrian-born American fashion designer whose avant-garde clothing designs are generally regarded as the most innovative and dynamic fashion of the 1960s. He purposefully used fashion design as a social statement to advance sexual freedom, producing clothes that followed the natural form of the female body, freeing them from the constraints of high fashion. He consciously pushed the boundaries of acceptable fashion and used his designs as an opportunity to comment on social issues and to expand society’s perception of what was acceptable. Gernreich became a U.S. citizen in 1943. He met Harry Hay (April 7, 1912 – October 24, 2002) in July 1950, and the two became lovers. They were founding members of the early activities of the Mattachine Society. In 1951 Gernreich was arrested and convicted in a police homosexual entrapmentcase, which was common in Southern California at that time. In 1953, Gernreich met Oreste Pucciani  (April 7, 1916 – April 28, 1999), future chair of the UCLA French department, who was a key figure in bringing Jean-Paul Sartre to the attention of American educators. Oreste Pucciani (April 7, 1916 – April 28, 1999) was also a pivotal figure in the gay rights movement. The two men kept their relationship private as Gernreich believed public acknowledgment of his homosexuality would negatively affect his fashion business. Oreste Pucciani, Gernreich’s partner for 31 years, endowed a trust in their name for the American Civil Liberties Union in 1988.

1924, Germany –Freundin magazine(English: The Girlfriend: The Ideal Friendship Journal) was a popular Weimar-era German lesbian magazine[ published from 1924 to 1933. The magazine was published from Berlinby the Bund für Menschenrecht (translated variously as League for Human Rights or Federation for Human Rights and abbreviated as BfM), run by gay activist and publisher Friedrich Radszuweit. The Bund was an organization for homosexuals which had a membership of 48,000 in the 1920s.This magazine, together with other lesbian magazines of that era such as Frauenliebe (Love of Women), represented a part-educational and part-political perspective, and they were assimilated with the local culture.Die Freundin published short stories and novellas. Renowned contributors were pioneers of the lesbian movement likewrietr and activist Selli Engler(28 September 1899 – 1982) and“transvestite” and lesbian activist Lotte Hahm(1890-1967). The magazine also published advertisements of lesbian nightspots, and women could place their personal advertisements for meeting other lesbians. Women’s groups related to the Bund für Menschenrecht and Die Freundin offered a culture of readings, performances, and discussions, which were alternative to the culture of bars. This magazine was usually critical of women for what they viewed as “attending only to pleasure”, with a 1929 article urging women “Don’t go to your entertainments while thousands of our sisters mourn their lives in gloomy despair.”Die Freundin, along with other gay and lesbian periodicals, was shut down by the Nazis after they came to power in 1933. But even before the rise of the Nazis, the magazine faced legal troubles during the Weimar Republic. From 1928 to 1929, the magazine was shut down by the government under a law that was supposed to protect youth from “trashy and obscene” literature. During these years, the magazine operated under the title Ledige Frauen (Single Women).

1951 – Randy Shilts (August 8, 1951 – February 17, 1994) is born. He was an American journalist and author. He worked as a reporter for both The Advocate and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as for San Francisco Bay Area television stations, becoming “the first openly gay reporter with a gay ‘beat’ in the American mainstream press. Shilts wrote three best-selling, widely acclaimed books. The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk(1982), And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic(1987),  Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the US Military from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf (1993), which examined discrimination against lesbians and gays in the military, was published in 1993. Shilts bequeathed 170 cartons of papers, notes, and research files to the local history section of the San Francisco Public Library. Shilts died of complications from AIDS on February 17, 1994.

1973 – The American Bar Association passes a resolution urging the repeal of sodomy laws.

1978, UK – Representatives of 17 gay (predominantly male) and European organizations from 14 countries found the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) at a meeting hosted by the English Campaign for Homosexual Equality in Coventry, England. The ILGA is an international organization bringing together more than 750 LGBTI groups from around the world. It continues to be active in campaigning for LGBT rights and intersex human rights on the international human rights and civil rights scene, and regularly petitions the United Nations and governments. ILGA is represented in 110+ countries across the world. ILGA is accredited by the United Nations and has been granted NGOconsultative status. It was originally called the International Gay Association; the name was changed in 1986.

1980, Canada – The General Council of the United Church of Canada, the largest Protestant denomination in country, meets in Halifax and gives approval to the “In God’s Image… Male and Female,” study document which advocates acceptance of gays and lesbians into ministry and which says premarital and extramarital sex are acceptable under certain circumstances. 

1983 – Bobbi Campbell became known as the “KS Poster Boy and appears with his partner on the cover of Newsweekon August 8, 1983. Robert Boyle “Bobbi” Campbell Jr., January 28, 1952 – August 15, 1984) was a public health nurse and an early AIDS activist. In September 1981, Campbell became the 16th person in San Francisco to be diagnosed with Kaposi’s sarcomawhen that was a proxy for an AIDS diagnosis. He was the first to come out publicly as a person living with what was to become known as AIDS. In 1983, he co-wrote the Denver Principles, the defining manifesto of the People With AIDS Self-Empowerment Movement, which he had co-founded the previous year. Appearing on the cover of Newsweek and being interviewed on national news reports, Campbell raised the national profile of the AIDS crisis among heterosexuals and provided a recognizable, optimistic, human face of the epidemic for affected communities.

1984 – Greg Louganis (born January 29, 1960) wins his first Olympic gold medal for the Men’s 3-meter springboard in Los Angeles. A few days later he wins gold for the 10-meter platform. He does it again in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. He has been called both “the greatest American diver”and “probably the greatest diver in history”. He doesn’t speak about being gay until a 1995 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

1986 – A group of people who tried to collect signatures for the recall of Durham, N.C. mayor Wib Gulley for declaring June 22-June 29 Anti-Discrimination Week admitted that they were short by 6,500 signatures.

1991 – Tom Duane (born January 30, 1955), an openly gay candidate in a close race for a NYC West Side City Council seat, reveals he has HIV. He served in the New York State Senate from 1999 to 2012. Duane was the first openly gay member of the New York State Senate, and the only such member during his tenure there.He was also the body’s only openly HIV-positive member. Duane was the lead sponsor of Same-sex union legislation in the New York State Senate. Duane’s partner of 25 years is actor Louis Webre.

1992 – The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis orders an AIDS prevention organization to vacate their office space in a church-run facility because they distributed condoms.

1996, UK – A BBC documentary airs which presents the case of a man who died in the 1960’s as a result of malpractice during aversion therapy to “cure” his homosexuality.

2000 – The US Women’s Basketball League consistently distances itself from the topic of lesbians but Sue Wicks, one of the first players to come out, says in this day’s Village Voice: “I can’t say how many players are gay, but it would be easier to count the straight ones.” Susan Joy “Sue” Wicks (born November 26, 1966) is a former basketball player in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) who played with the New York Liberty from 1997 to 2002. In July 2006, she became the Assistant Coach for the women’s basketball team at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, New York.After leaving her assistant coaching position at Saint Francis College, Wicks said that she felt that being an out lesbian was an overwhelming liability in getting a job as a women’s basketball coach.She is one of only two Rutgers women’s basketball players to have her jersey retired.

2001, Singapore – (a major GLBT website in Singapore) organizes the country’s first large-scale LGBT event at Sentosa’s Fantasy Island. Sentosa is a popular islandresortin Singapore, visited by some twenty million people a year. Attractions include a 2 km (1.2 mi) long sheltered beach, Fort Siloso, two golf courses, the Merlion, 14 hotels, and the Resorts World Sentosa, featuring the theme park Universal Studios Singapore.

2005 – New York City police reveal there had been nearly 100 hundred attacks on gays in the city during the summer of 2005.

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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