Today in LGBT History – December 22

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate; Happy Festivus for the Rest of Us. Safe travels this holiday weekend.

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

Today in LGBT History – December 22

1934 – Wallace Henry Thurman (1902–Dec. 22, 1934), a black editor, critic, novelist, and playwright associated with the Harlem Renaissance, dies, in New York City. Thurman wrote a play, Harlem, which debuted on Broadway in 1929 to mixed reviews. The same year his first novel The Blacker the Berry: A Novel of Negro Life (1929) was published. The novel is now recognized as a groundbreaking work of fiction because of its focus on intra-racial prejudice and colorism within the black community, where lighter skin has historically been favored. Thurman married Louise Thompson on August 22, 1928. The marriage lasted only six months. Thompson said that Wallace was a homosexual and refused to admit it. Thurman died at the age of 32 from tuberculosis, which many suspect was exacerbated by his long fight with alcoholism.

1939 – Bisexual blues singer Ma Rainey (September 1882 or April 26, 1886 – December 22, 1939) dies of heart disease at age 53. She was one of the earliest African-American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of blues singers to record.[3] She was billed as the “Mother of the Blues”. Some of Rainey’s lyrics contain references to lesbianism or bisexuality, such as the 1928 song “Prove It on Me.”

 1964 – Dr. Harry Benjamin testifies at a meeting of the New York Health Department to urge that transsexuals should be allowed to have new birth certificates issued reflecting their gender preference. His recommendations were rejected.

 1970 – The San Francisco Free Press prints Carl Wittman’s (February 23, 1943 – January 22, 1986) Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Manifesto. Reprinted and distributed all across the country in the next year, it quickly becomes the bible of Gay Liberation. He was a member of the national council of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and later an activist for LGBT rights. He co-authored “An Interracial Movement of the Poor?” (1963) with Tom Hayden and wrote “A Gay Manifesto” (1970). Wittman declined hospital treatment for AIDS and committed suicide by drug overdose at home in North Carolina.[

1986 – The “Gay/Lesbian Forum” airs on public access television in Charlotte, NC. Closet Busters produced the program.

1999-The Daytona Ohio city commission rejected a proposal to protect gays and lesbians in housing and employment. 

2010 – President Obama signs the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

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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