Today in LGBT History – August 8

Kelly and I are reading On Tyranny yesterday by Timothy Snyder (2017). Snyder presents twenty lessons from the 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today’s politics. On this blog, I’ll present one lesson each day for the next 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.

2. Defend institutions. It is institutions that help us preserve decency. They need our help as well. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you make them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions did not protect themselves. They fall one after the other unless each is defended from the beginning. So choose an institution you care about – a court, a newspaper, a law, a labor union– And take its side. It took less than a year for the new Nazi order to consolidate (and destroy its institutions). By the end of 1933, Germany had become a one-party state in which all major institutions had been humbled. 

Today in LGBT History – August 8

1922 – 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 Society. I n 1951 Gernreich was arrested and convicted in a police homosexual entrapment case, which was common in Southern California at that time. In 1953, Gernreich met Oreste Pucciani, 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.

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 passed 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 at a meeting hosted by the English Campaign for Homosexual Equality in Coventry, England. The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) is established. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (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 NGO consultative 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, meet 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,”  appearing with his partner on the cover of Newsweek on August 8, 1983. Robert Boyle “Bobbi” Campbell Jr., January 28, 1952 – August 15, 1984) was a public health nurse and an early States AIDS activist. In September 1981, Campbell became the 16th person in San Francisco to be diagnosed with Kaposi’s sarcoma, when 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 doesn’t speak about being gay until a 1995 interview with Oprah Winfrey. He won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics, on both the springboard and platform. He is the only male and the second diver in Olympic history to sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympic Games. He has been called both “the greatest American diver” and “probably the greatest diver in history”.

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 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). She played with the New York Liberty from 1997 to 2002. She currently serves as a collegiate basketball coach. 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 island resort in 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 – NYC police revealed there had been nearly 100 hundred attacks on gays in the city during the summer.

Select an institution and make monthly contributions to it. Ours is the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. 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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