Today in LGBT History – December 29

This is the first night of the annual “Lesbians across America campaign” at the June Mazer Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles” They ask that lesbians across America to donate just $10 to the Mazer to help them keep collecting, protecting, and preserving Lesbian History. Please donate: go to

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Today in LGBT History – December 29

1898, UK  – Elfie Gidlow (29 December 1898 – 8 June 1986) is born. She was a British-born, Canadian-American poet, freelance journalist, and philosopher. In 1918 she published Les Mouches Fantastiques, the first known LGB periodical in Canadian and North American history. She is best known for writing On A Grey Thread (1923), possibly the first volume of openly lesbian love poetry published in North America. In the 1950s, Gidlow helped found Druid Heights, a bohemian community in Marin County, California. She was the author of thirteen books and appeared as herself in the documentary film, Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives (1977). Completed just before her death, her autobiography, Elsa, I Come with My Songs (1986), recounts her life story. Towards the last years of her life, Gidlow experienced several strokes. She chose not to seek medical care in a hospital and died at home in Druid Heights at the age of 87. Gidlow’s estate donated her extensive personal papers to the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco in 1991. 

1971 – Wakefield Poole’s (born 1936) trend-setting Boys in the Sand premieres, prompting Variety to remark, “There are no more closets.” Shot on Fire Island, Poole’s slickly produced film marks a dramatic departure from the low-budget pornography previously available. Boys in the Sand had its theatrical debut on December 29, 1971, at the 55th Street Playhouse in New York City. It was the first gay porn film to include credits, to achieve crossover success, to be reviewed by Variety, and one of the earliest porn films, after 1969’s Blue Movie by Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987), to gain mainstream credibility, preceding 1972’s Deep Throat by nearly a year. It was promoted with an advertising campaign unprecedented for a pornographic feature, and was an immediate critical and commercial success. The film’s title is a parodic reference to the Mart Crowley (born August 21, 1935) play and film The Boys in the Band.

1972 – As a result of the dismissal of a gay man from his job with the Seattle Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an action was filed seeking to change the Civil Service Rules which allowed the dismissal of homosexuals from Federal employment on the basis of sexual orientation alone. A year later a federal judge nullified the policy.

1990 – Richard Dunne (1944 – December 29, 1990), director of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis from 1985-1989, dies of complications from AIDS at age 46. During his time as director the annual budget increased from $800,000 to $11 million and the staff increased from 17 to 120.

1995 – John Gilbert, general manager of KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs Colorado, pulls tv shows Jenny Jones and Carnie because their shows included homosexuals.

1999 – Senator John McCain meets with Arizona state legislator Steve May (born c. 1972), a gay Republican, who was in the process of being discharged from the Army reserves. McCain said he stands by the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but would look into his case to be sure he was being treated fairly.

2012 – Same-sex marriage takes effect in Maine with a voter approval of 53%-47%. Maryland and Washington State are the other states to win marriage equality by popular vote.

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(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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