Today in LGBT History – December 23

From Rise Stronger: What a year 2017 has been. We’ve powered the resistance, day in and day out for 365+ days. It’s often felt like a spiral of despair, but we’ve woken up and pushed ahead. The heartache and exhaustion were real. But so too was the commitment, the energy, the hope. Now we head into 2018, a year full of uncertainty for so many in this country. DACA. CHIP. Health Care. The Wall. North Korea. Planned Parenthood Funding. Travel Ban. Transgender Military Ban. Russia. Mueller. The list goes on, but the point is the same. Many, many challenges lie ahead, but opportunities for change and progress are abundant, so long as we stay united. We have elections taking place across the country – in Congress, in State Houses, and in City Halls. These need your attention and your resources. We have opportunities for growth, partnerships, allyship, and more. We have the chance to change the tide of this country in 2018. As for this last week of 2017, we hope you can enjoy it with your family and friends…. Here’s to a 2018 full of activism, hard work, and progress. 

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

Today in LGBT History – December 23

1868 –  Mary Rozet Smith (Dec. 23, 1868-1934) is born. She was a Chicago-born US philanthropist who was one of the trustees and benefactors of Hull House. She was the companion of activist Jane Addams  (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) for over thirty years. Smith provided the financing for the Hull House Music School and donated the school’s organ as a memorial to her mother. She was active in several social betterment societies in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century.

1888 – Christa Winsloe (23 December 1888 – 10 June 1944) is born. Winsloe was a 20th-century German-Hungarian novelistplaywright and sculptor. Her book Das Mädchen Manuela  (The Child Manuela) is reviewed in the New York Times on this day. It was a translation from a German book about a lesbian relationship in a school for girls. The reviewer referred to it as “a social document that is moving and eloquent.” Das Mädchen Manuela is a short novel based on her experiences at Kaiser in-Augusta. The 1931 film version remains an international cult classic. Winsloe was involved in a relationship with newspaper reporter Dorothy Thompson (9 July 1893 – 30 January 1961), probably before World War II when Thompson was reporting from Berlin.  She moved to France in the late 1930s, fleeing the Nazis. During World War II, she joined the French Resistance. Contrary to what is often stated, she was not executed by the Nazis. Instead, on June 10, 1944, Winsloe and her French partner, Simone Gentet (died 1944), were shot and killed by four Frenchmen in a forest near the country town of Cluny. The men said that they had thought the women were Nazi spies, and were later acquitted of murder.

1959 – The California Supreme Court upholds the right of LGBT people to congregate. In Vallerga v. Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Court rules that a 1955 statute allowing the Dept. of ABC to revoke the liquor license of any establishment that was a “resort…for sexual perverts” was unconstitutional.

1970 – The film Little Big Man is released. It features a character named Little Horse  who is biologically male but wears female clothing and identifies as a woman. Little Horse is a “hee-man-eh” which, in the Cheyenne tribe, is the word for what anthropologists call a “berdache.”

1993 – Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks premieres. The film is an American drama  and one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDShomosexuality, and homophobia. It was written by Ron Nyswaner, directed by Jonathan Demme and stars Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Hanks won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Andrew Beckett in the film, while the song “Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Nyswaner was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, but lost to Jane Campion for The Piano.

1994 – In a much publicized adoption case in Seattle, Washington, Ross and Luis Lopton win permanent custody of their four year-old foster son, Gailen. The child’s birth mother had challenged the men’s right to adopt him.

1998 – The Centers for Disease Control releases a report on why some people at risk for HIV infection don’t get tested. Reasons included privacy and fear of positive test results.

1999 – Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon announced that a memorandum had been issued calling for immediate action against cases of anti-gay harassment in the military. 

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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