Today in LGBT History – JANUARY 22

Good news, Grace and Frankie fans! The series, which began its 5thseason this week, we just renewed for a 6thseason! If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth the price of Netflix. I watch a lot of depressing but important news on TV so I really need to watch other shows that make me laugh. Right now there are three; Friends reruns (I know, it’s probably politically incorrect except for the lesbian wedding episode), Mom, and Grace and Frankie. If you’re in need of belly laughs as I am, watch these fun shows. Writing prompt: what makes you laugh hard?

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 22

1561 – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) was born in London. He is best known for his philosophical works concerning the acquisition of knowledge: Novum Organum and The Advancement of Learning.His mother wrote a letter to him, which still survives, complaining about the long list of male “servants and envoys” who find their way to his bed. She refers to a gay Spanish envoy as “that bloody Perez and bed companion of my son.” We don’t know what she wrote to her other son, Roger, who was also gay. 

1788, UK – George Gordon, Lord Byron (22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824), was born. He was an English noblemanpoetpeerpolitician, and leading figure in the Romantic movement. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poetsand remains widely read and influential.His memoir My Life and Adventureswas burned being considered too scandalous for publication. A champion of freedom and an enemy of hypocrisy, he had a ravenous sexual appetite. His most enduring relationship was with John FitzGibbon, 2nd Earl of Clare. Scholars acknowledge a more or less important bisexual component in Byron’s very complex sentimental and sexual life. 

1952 – Jim Kepner (1923 – 15 November 1997)and members of Mattachine discussed the idea of publishing a magazine for the LGBT community. They named their magazine ONE Inc.and put out the first issue in January 1953. In 1956, ONE opened the Institute for Homophile Studies. Today, ONE is the National Gay and Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California  and the largest repository of LGBT materials in the world. Kepner was a journalist, author, historian, archivist and leader in the gay rights movement.

1957, Germany – Cabaret singer and open lesbian Claire Waldoff (21 October 1884 – 22 January 1957),dies. She was a famous kabarett singer and entertainer in Berlin during the 1910s and 1920s, chiefly known for performing ironic songs in the Berlinish dialect and wth lesbianundertones and themes. After WWII, she lost her savings in the West German monetary reform of 1948 and from 1951 relied on a little monetary support by the Senate of Berlin. In 1953, she wrote her autobiography. Waldoff died aged 72 after a stroke.She and her partner of 40 years, Olga von Roeder (June 12, 1886-July 11, 1963), share a final resting place in Stuttgart. They livedin Germany their entire lives. Claire Waldoff has a star in Walk of Fame of Cabaret, Mainz.

1966 – The first lesbian to appear on the cover of the lesbian magazine The Ladderwith her face showing was Lilli Vincenz (born September 26, 1937). Lilli  is a lesbian activist and the first lesbian member of the gay political activist effort, the Mattachine Society of Washington (MSW).She served as the editor of the organization’s newsletter and in 1969 along with Nancy Tucker created the independent newspaper, the Gay Blade, which later became the Washington Blade. She was the only self-identified lesbian to participate in the second White House picket with Frank Kameny(May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011). In 2013 her papers, films and other memorabilia were donated to the Library of Congress.

1973 – Abortion became legal in the U.S. as the Supreme Court announced its decision in the case of Roe vs. Wadestriking down local state laws restricting abortions in the first six months of pregnancy. In more recent rulings (1989 and 1992) the Court upheld the power of individual states to impose some restrictions.  In 1994, Norma Leah McCorvey (aka “Jane Roe”) (September 22, 1947 – February 18, 2017)wrote of her sexual orientation in her memoir I Am Roe: My Life, Roe V. Wade, and Freedom of Choice. For many years, she had lived quietly in Dallas with her long-time partner, Connie Gonzales.A few years later she claimed that she has converted to Christianity and was no longer a lesbian.

1978 – New York City Mayor Ed Koch issues Executive Order 50 which forbids discrimination against gay men and lesbians in municipal government.

1986 – Carl Wittman(February 23, 1943 – January 22, 1986)dies.Carl was a member of the national council of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)and later an activist for LGBT rights. He co-authored “An Interracial Movement of the Poor?” (1963) with Tom Haydenand wrote “A Gay Manifesto” (1970). Wittman was denied hospital treatment for AIDSand committed suicide by drug overdose at home in North Carolina.

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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