Today in LGBT History – JANUARY 17

I am deeply pained by the current political situation in the U.S. The head of the EPA says there’s no global warming when we are seeing the changes daily; racism, anti-Semitism, and homo/transphobia are rampant; and there’s no end to the amount of frightening wrongdoing by the President to the extent that people’s lives are now completely disregarded and at risk. I do what I am able to resist, knowing that it’s not enough but yet takes up much of my time, and I fear that my children and grandchildren will ultimately pay the price, the terribly high price, of recovery and repair. Nevertheless, I stand, I speak up, and I contact legislators daily. I will not go quietly into the night as long as I have a voice and a pen. Writing prompt: What do you do/will you do to stop the madness?

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 17

1558, France – Cardinal Charles de Lorraine requests that the French Ambassador to Rome report scandals involving Cardinal Carlo Carafa (29 March 1517 – 6 March 1561)and Giovanni Carafa (died 5 March 1561), Duke of Paliano to Pope Paul VI. They had engaged in “that sin so loathsome in which there is no longer a distinction between the male and female sex.” They are first exiled then sentenced to death.

1886, UK – British novelist Ronald Firbank (17 January 1886 – 21 May 1926)is born in London. He was an innovative English novelist whose eight short novels, partly inspired by the Londonaesthetesof the 1890s, especially Oscar Wilde, consist largely of dialogue, with references to religion, social-climbing, and sexuality.His best novels are Caprice(1917) and Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli(1926). Firbank was not without his own eccentricities. He wore two dressing gowns at once, painted his nails, lived in an apartment painted black, and owned only books bound in blue leather. Openly gayand chronically shy, he was an enthusiastic consumer of alcohol and cannabis. He died of lung disease in Rome at age 40. Susan Sontagnamed his novels as part of “the canon of camp“in her 1964 essay Notes on ‘Camp.

1947 – Dale McCormick (born January 17, 1947) is an American politician from the state of Maine who currently serves on the city council of Augusta. McCormick was the first openly gay member of the Maine State Legislature, having been elected in 1990 to the first of three terms in the Maine Senate.

1971 – Novelist Merle Miller May 17, 1919 – June 10, 1986)comes out in a New York Times Magazineessay entitled “On Being Different: What it Means to Be a Homosexual”. He was an American writer, novelist, and author who is perhaps best remembered for his best-selling biography of Harry S. Truman, and as a pioneer in the gay rights movement.He later says, “I don’t see any great rush of people lining up to declare themselves as homosexual. Who is to say they should do so? I think, however, it is rather important. For one thing, you cannot demand your rights, civil or otherwise, if you are unwilling to say what you are.” The response of over 2,000 letters to the article (more than ever received by that newspaper) led to a book publication later that year.

1982 – Austin, TX voters reject a ballot proposal by almost two-to-one that would have allowed housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

1999 – Transgender Robert Eads (December 18, 1945 – January 17, 1999) dies of ovarian cancer. More than two dozen doctors in Georgia refused to treat Eads on the grounds that doing so would harm their practice. Eads story is documented in the award-winning documentary Southern Comfort. Eads transitioned from female to male later in life. He was diagnosed withovarian cancer in 1996, but as an example of the social stigma faced by gender variant individuals, more than a dozen doctors refused to medically treat him. When he was finally accepted for treatment by the Medical College of Georgia hospitalin 1997, the cancer had already metastasized to other parts of the body, rendering any further treatments futile.

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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