Today in LGBT History – December 18

Kelly and I went to a Chanukah party at a spectacular home in Rancho Mirage last evening. The guests were from various of groups of people around Coachella Valley so we met a number of folks we hadn’t known. A straight woman was sitting with us lesbians and joining in our chatter. Later, she and I were having a conversation when she said, “You lesbians are so lucky. You have each other and your community of women.” I’ve been thinking about that statement. Kelly and I do have a lovely community of lesbians wherever we go. I told her the other day that home, for me, is wherever we are together. Perhaps home also includes our international community of friends as well. The saying is true: we ARE everywhere! And I’m grateful.

Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – December 18

1654, Sweden – Queen Christina (18 December 1626 – 19 April 1689) is born. She was hairy and had a deep vice, ‘walked like a man, sat and rode like a man, and could eat and swear like the roughest soldiers.’ She sometimes identified herself as Count Dohna after her abdication, and has been claimed variously as lesbian, transgender, and intersex by historians in search of an angle.

1879 – Stagecoach driver Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst (1812 – Dec. 18, 1879) dies. The medical examiner discovers Charley is female. Parkhurst, who registered to vote in 1868, may have been the first female-assigned transgender citizen to vote in California. Known as “One-eyed Charley,” he wore a black patch over his left eye, lost when attempting to shoe a horse. His lips were stained from constant tobacco chewing and as the years wore on he talked less and less, earning him another nickname Silent Charley. When Parkhurst did speak, he didn’t hesitate to sling around swear words in a gruff voice. The only part of his appearance that was out of place was his clean-shaven face, an odd choice for a man in those days. His grave is at the Pioneer Cemetery at 44 Main Street in Watsonville, California.

1902 – Dr. William S Barker of St Louis presents a paper to the Medical Society of City Hospital Alumni about two men he identified as “W” and “B,” saying W showed an unnatural fondness for B and the two were inseparable.

1953 – Dr. Harry Benjamin conducts a symposium on transsexuals for the New York Academy of Medicine.

Benjamin was a German-American endocrinologist and sexologist, widely known for his clinical work with transsexualism.  In 1979 the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association was formed, using Benjamin’s name by permission. The group consists of therapists and psychologists who devised a set of Standards of Care (SOC) for the treatment of gender identity disorder, largely based on Benjamin’s cases, and studies.  It later changed its name to The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), but still reveres its links to Harry Benjamin.

1961 – Brian Orser  (born 18 December 1961, figure skater is born.
He is a Canadian former competitive and professional figure skater. He is the 1984 and 1988 Olympic silver medalist1987 World champion and eight-time (1981–88) Canadian national champion. At the 1988 Winter Olympics, the rivalry between Orser and American figure skater Brian Boitano (born October 22, 1963, who were the two favorites to win the gold medal, captured media attention and was described as the “Battle of the Brians“.  Orser and Boitano are both openly gay. He was forced to reveal his sexuality in November 1998, when he lost a legal battle to prevent public disclosure when an ex-partner sued him for palimony.  Orser initially feared the revelation of being gay would ruin his career, but he has since embraced support from other skaters and the public. Since 2008, he has been in a relationship with Rajesh Tiwari, a director of The Brian Orser foundation.[

1974 – The first International Gay Rights Conference began. It would lead to the formation of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) in 1978. 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 NGO Ecosoc consultative status.

1978 – A Toronto police sergeant calls three school boards in the area and informs them six teachers in their employ were arrested in the Barracks steam bath raid. The officer is given only internal department reprimand.

1979 – ABC News Close-Up features a documentary on homosexuals. Fifteen affiliates refused to air it and the network was not able to find a single commercial sponsor. It covered topics such as promiscuity and implied that gays could not form stable relationships.

1980 – The New York State Court of Appeals abolishes the state’s sodomy laws.

1982, Canada – The Quebec parliament overwhelmingly approves a measure, and becomes the first North American legislative body, to authorize Domestic Partnership benefits for same-sex couples. It gives domestic partners of gays and lesbians legal protection and access to economic benefits previously restricted to straights, authorizing “Domestic Partnership” benefits for gay and lesbian couples

1984 – “The Times of Harvey Milk” wins the New York Critics’ Award for Best Documentary of the Year. The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and then on November 1, 1984 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. The film was directed by Rob Epstein (born April 6, 1955), produced by Richard Schmiechen (July 10, 1947 – April 7, 1993), and narrated by Harvey Fierstein (born June 6, 1954), with an original score by Mark Isham. In 2012, this film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.[4]

1990 – Dr. Stanley Biber (May 4, 1923 – January 16, 2006)  of Trinidad, Colorado is elected to the city council. Dr. Biber performs approximately 60% of the world’s sex change operations.

He was an American physician who was a pioneer in sex reassignment surgery, performing thousands of procedures during his long career. Dr. Marci Bowers (born January 18, 1958), a gynecologist and transsexual woman herself, took over his SRS practice. Bowers also offers restorative procedures for victims of female genital mutilation (FGM), whom she does not charge for surgery. Bowers married eleven years prior to her surgery, and remains married to her female spouse.

1997 – Navy Secretary John Dalton denies that the US Navy violates the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy by participating in witch hunts.

1998 – The Maryland Supreme Court rules a parent’s access to his or her children cannot be restricted solely based on sexual orientation. 

2006, Qatar – Asian Games strips runner Santhi Soundarajan (born April 1981) of her silver medal because she is intersex. The Indian Olympic Association then banned her from sports. She is an Indian track and field athlete and winner of 12 international medals for India and around 50 medals for her home state of Tamil Nadu. Santhi is the first Tamil woman to win a medal at the Asian Games. She competes in middle distance track events. She was stripped of a silver medal won at the 2006 Asian Games after failing a sex verification test which disputed her eligibility to participate in the women’s competition.

2009, Austria – The Bundesrat approve same-sex marriages which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2010.

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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