Today in LGBT History – JANUARY 13

We saw Lily Tomlin at the McCallum Theater last night. Terrific show! She was funny, smart, pollical and historical, and she performed some of her schtick from In Search for Intelligent life, one of my favor one-woman show pieces. She occasionally forgot her lines last night but her audience forgave her. After all, most of us were well over 60 (70 in my case). A fleeting highpoint which many could easily have missed was the reference to Lily’s own homosexuality. I’ve seen her perform many times and never heard her mention it. She’s been with her partner Jane Wagner for decades and has not been closeted but her sexuality was never brought into any of her shows I’ve seen. I found myself cheering her on, feeling a bit protective of this lesbian who will be 80 on September 1st. You rock, Lily!! Writing prompt: when did you know that a favorite person or hero was LGB or T? What was that like for you?

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 – JANUARY 13

1834 – Horatio Alger (January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899)is born in Revere, Massachusetts. He was a prolific 19th-century American writer, best known for his many young adult novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. His “rags-to-riches” narrative had a formative effect on America during the Gilded Age.As a Unitarian minister in Brewster, Mass, he often traveled to New York where he sought to improve the condition of street boys. His experiences became the fodder for over 100 books. But, back home in Brewster, a parish committee charged him with “gross immorality and a most heinous crime, a crime of no less magnitude than the abomination and revolting crime of unnatural familiarity with boys.” Alger denied nothing, admitted he had been imprudent, considered his association with the church dissolved, and left town. Alger sent Unitarian officials in Boston a letter of remorse, and his father assured them his son would never seek another post in the church. The officials were satisfied and decided no further action would be taken. Alger was known to have mentioned his homosexuality only once, in 1870.

1898, Germany – The Reichstag debates a petition urging the revocation of the anti-gay Paragraph 175. Promoted by Magnus Hirschfeld (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935)and signed by dozens of prominent German opinion leaders, the motion is supported by only one political party in the Reichstag, the Social Democratic Party led by August Bebel. The Reichstag votes against reform. Hirschfeld  was a German Jewish physician and sexologist educated primarily in Germany; he based his practice in Berlin-Charlottenburg. An outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee. Historian Dustin Goltz characterized this group as having carried out “the first advocacy for homosexual and transgender rights“.

1958 – In the landmark case One, Inc. v. Olesen, the United States Supreme Court unanimously reverses three lower court rulings and rules in favor of the First Amendment rights of One: The Homosexual Magazine. The Court unanimously reverses the lower court rulings thereby protecting the right to publish material about homosexuality. This was the first Supreme Court ruling on a gay issue. The Court’s affirmation of free speech for gay and lesbian writing opens the way for more widely distributed publications.

1983 – A lesbian couple, Dr. Zandra Rolon and Deborah Johnson, are refused service when they try to sit in the romantic dining section of the posh Los Angeles restaurant Papa Choux. They are told that a city ordinance prohibits such seating, which is not true. They sue and win, but the restaurant removes the section rather than seat gay or lesbian couples, proclaiming “True romantic dining died on this date.”

1992 – OutMagazine begins publishing with a test issue. The first issue on the newsstands is dated Summer 1992.

2014, Nigeria – President Goodluck Johnathan signed the controversial Jail the Gays law that includes punishment for being LGBT of up to 14 years in jail. The law also bans and makes punishable by jail time a membership in any LGBT rights group.

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!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.