Today in LGBT History – FEBRUARY 16

Wow oh wow! Dear Anita Bryant was performed last night at the Camelot Theater in Palm Springs. 400 people, an awesome cast, and a thrilling evening… just wow! Next stop for the play: San Diego’s Diversionary Theater on Tuesday, Feb. 19th at 7 PM.

Rudyard Kipling said: If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.The snippets of LGBTQ history here are the stories of our lives, the stories of the giants on whose shoulders we all stand. Learn about them then tell the stories…and remember, because knowing your history IS resistance!

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

Today in LGBT History – FEBRUARY 16

1820 – American feminist Susan B. Anthony  (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906)was born in Adams, Massachusetts. She was an American social reformer and women’s rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement. Born into a Quaker family committed to social equality, she collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. In 1856, she became the New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society.

1886 – The term “Boston Marriage,” which describes a long-term cohabiting relationship between two women, is written for the first time. Novelist Henry James uses it in his book The Bostonians. Henry James(15 April 1843 – 28 February 1916) was an American author regarded as a key transitional figure between literary realism and literary modernism, and is considered by many to be among the greatest novelists in the English language. Born in the United States, James largely relocated to Europe as a young man and eventually settled in England, becoming a British subject in 1915, one year before his death. James was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911, 1912, and 1916.Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick‘s (May 2, 1950 – April 12, 2009)Epistemology of the Closet made a landmark difference to Jamesian scholarship by arguing that he be read as a homosexual writer whose desire to keep his sexuality a secret shaped his layered style and dramatic artistry.

1893 – Katharine Cornell (February 16, 1893 – June 9, 1974) was an American stage actress, writer, theater owner and producer. She married Guthrie McClintic  (August 6, 1893 – October 29, 1961), a successful theatre director, film director, and producer based in New York,in 1921, but it is generally acknowledged that Cornell was a lesbian, and McClintic was gay, and their union was a lavender marriage. She was a member of the “sewing circles” in New York, and had relationships with Nancy Hamilton(July 27, 1908 – February 18, 1985),Tallulah Bankhead(January 31, 1902 – December 12, 1968), and Mercedes de Acosta(March 1, 1893 – May 9, 1968) , among others. 

1926 – The great English film director John Schlesinger (16 February 1926 – 25 July 2003) was born on this date. His Midnight Cowboy (1969) was panned by critics for being too gay, and by gay activists for not being gay enough. Schlesinger died in Palm Springs at the age of 77. He was survived by his partner of over 30 years, photographer Michael Childers. 

1947 – John Grannan (Feb. 16, 1947-Jan. 31, 2018) was born. He died without any remembrance from the LGBT community. John served in the United States Navy at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and then attended the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. He worked at USF for the State of Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor for 27 years before retiring and moving to his hometown in Citrus County. In his retirement,John’s Citrus County roots and history ran deep. Grannan grew up in Lecanto and graduated from Crystal River High School in 1965 where he was senior class president and yearbook editor.John had another life as well. John was a powerful mover and shaker in the LGBT rights movement in Florida from about 1978 to probably 2010. John served as both the treasurer and then director of the board of the Florida (LGBT) Task Force in Tallahassee from the late 1970s and into the 80s. When he left the Task Force, he and three others. – Bill Cagle, Herbert Murray and John Snyder – created the Tampa Bay Area Human Rights Council.John was one of the initial brokers in developing Florida’s LGBT community. There is very little known about him now. If you have news of John or information about is life, please share it here. We must remember and memorialize our lost heroes.

1990 – Famed pop artist Keith Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) dies from AIDS at 31.  Six months earlier he had been quoted as saying, “The hardest thing is just knowing that there’s so much more stuff to do.” He was an American artist whose pop art and graffiti-like work grew out of the New York City street culture of the 1980s. Haring’s work grew to iconic popularity from his exuberant spontaneous drawings in New York City subways – chalk outlines on blank black advertising-space backgrounds – depicting radiant babies, flying saucers, and deified dogs. After public recognition he created larger scale works such as colorful murals, many of them commissioned. His imagery has become a widely recognized visual language. His later work often addressed political and societal themes – especially homosexuality and AIDS – through his own unique iconography.

1991, London –  The Direct Action group OUTRAGE! organizes a gay and lesbian kiss-in at Piccadilly Circus in protest of a section of the Sexual Offences Act that makes public displays of affection between men illegal. Also on this day in London, 7,000 demonstrators march to protest the recent arrest of gay male s/m devotees and other anti-gay/lesbian initiatives.

1997 – An episode of the Simpsons called “Homer’s Phobia” airs, exploring gay themes.

2015 – Lesbian singer Leslie Gore (May 2, 1946 – February 16, 2015)dies at 68.  Shewas an American singer, songwriter, actress, and activist. At the age of 16 (in 1963) she recorded thepophit “It’s My Party“, and followed it up with other hits including “Judy’s Turn to Cry“, “She’s a Fool“, “You Don’t Own Me“, “Maybe I Know” and “California Nights“. Gore also worked as an actress and composed songs with her brother, Michael Gore, for the 1980 film Fame, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. She hosted an LGBT-oriented public television show, In the Life, on American TV in the 2000s, and was active until 2014. In a 2005 interview with After Ellen, she stated she was a lesbian and had been in a relationship with luxury jewelry designer Lois Sasson since 1982. She had known since she was 20 and stated that although the music business was “totally homophobic,” she never felt she had to pretend she was straight. At the time of her death, Gore and her partner Lois Sasson had been together for 33 years.

2016 – Washington State Supreme Court rules against discrimination based on sexual orientation in the “gay wedding flowers” case. The Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a florist who refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding broke the state’s antidiscrimination law, even though she claimed doing so would violate her religious beliefs.

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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