Today in LGBT History – February 22

Here’s the thing. Across America thousands upon thousands of teachers will go to school, and they will be the kind of people who on a bad day will throw themselves in front of our children to protect them. Never in all of the school shootings have we heard about a teacher who ran or fled from a shooter in order to protect themselves.      —Charlie Gaare, high school English teacher

Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – February 22

1892 – Popular openly bisexual poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (February 22, 1892 – October 19, 1950) is born. She was an American poet and playwright who received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923 for “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver,” only the third woman to do so. She was also known for her feminist activism. She used the pseudonym Nancy Boyd for her prose work. Millay entered Vassar College in 1913 when she was 21 years old, later than usual. She had relationships with several students during her time there, and kept scrapbooks including drafts of plays written during the period. In 1923 she married 43-year-old Eugen Jan Boissevain (1880–1949), the widower of the labor lawyer and war correspondent Inez Milholland, a political icon Millay had met during her time at Vassar. A self-proclaimed feminist, Boissevain supported her career and took primary care of domestic responsibilities. Both Millay and Boissevain had other lovers throughout their twenty-six-year marriage.  Millay was named by Equality Forum as one of their 31 Icons of the 2015 LGBT History Month.

1979 – Studio 54 throws a gala fifty-second birthday party for closeted gay attorney and former McCarthyist Roy Cohn. The event draws several hundreds of the city’s luminaries – including Donald Trump, Barbara Walters, members of both Democratic and Republican parties and most of the city’s elected officials

1987 – Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987 dies at the age of 58. He was an American artist, director and producer who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertising that flourished by the 1960s, and span a variety of media, including painting, silkscreening, photography, film, and sculpture. Some of his best known works include the silkscreen paintings Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) and Marilyn Diptych (1962). Warhol was gay. His lovers included poet John Giorno (born December 4, 1936), photographer Billy Name (February 22, 1940 – July 18, 2016), production designer Charles Lisanby  (January 22, 1924 – August 23, 2013), and Jon Gould. His boyfriend of 12 years was Jed Johnson (December 30, 1948 – July 17, 1996), whom he met in 1968, and who later achieved fame as an interior designer. Many of Warhol’s works and possessions are on display at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

2007, Netherlands – Gerda Verbug (born 19 August 1957) is the first open lesbian elected to government. She becomes the minister of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality. She is a Dutch diplomat and former politician and trade union leader. She lives with her wife Willy Westerlaken in Woerden, whom she married in 2012.

February 22, 2009 – Actor Sean Penn wins an Oscar for his role as Harvey Milk in the film, Milk. The film also won for Best Original Screenplay. Milk is a 2008 American biographical film based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Directed by Gus Van Sant (born July 24, 1952) and written by Dustin Lance Black (born June 10, 1974), the film stars Sean Penn as Milk and Josh Brolin as Dan White, a city supervisor who assassinated Milk and Mayor George Moscone. The film was released to much acclaim and earned numerous accolades from film critics and guilds. Ultimately, it received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, winning two for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Penn and Best Original Screenplay for Black.

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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