Today in LGBT History – January 25

An anti-Trump stance is narrow-minded and short-lived. A pro-equality stance moves us along Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s long arc toward justice.   —Berit Van Neste

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

Today in LGBT History – January 25

1800 – The Commonwealth of Virginia reduces the penalty for free peoples for committing buggery to 1–10 years in prison, but did not reduce the death penalty for slaves.

1874, France – W. Somerset Maugham I25 January 1874 – 16 December 1965) is born in Paris. He was a British playwrightnovelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest-paid author during the 1930s. He was 21 when Oscar Wilde was put on trial. It was enough to make him “publicly straight.” He later said that his biggest mistake was “I tried to persuade myself that I was three-quarters normal and that only quarter of me was queer — whereas it was the other way around.” Maugham has been described as both bisexua and homosexual. In addition to his 13-year marriage to Sylvie Wellcome, he had affairs with other women in his youth. In later life Maugham was exclusively homosexual. Despite his wealth, his fame, and his secretary-companion Gerald Haxton (1892 – November 7, 1944), Maugham died a bitter man.

1892 – Alice Mitchel (Nov. 26, 1872 – March 31, 1898), 19, kills Freda Ward (1873 – February 23, 1892), 17, by the docks in Memphis as a result of jealousy. The story made national headlines for months. The two girls had planned to marry but Alice was furious that Freda had admitted to romantic feelings for two men. Mitchell was subsequently found insane by means of a jury inquisition and placed in a psychiatric hospital until her death in 1898. The case, exploited by sensationalist press, and focused attention of the sexual attachments of women and drew out into the public discourse discussions of lesbianism. The case was headlined as “A Very Unnatural Crime” and influenced the popular literature of the era which began to depict lesbians as “murderous” and “masculine”. One identity that came to be was the “mannish lesbian,” creating dialogue of gender expression. The case history produced by Mitchell’s defense describes her as “a regular tomboy.” In the courtroom Alice Mitchell was presented as “insane” by her attorneys. This story was featured on Investigation Discovery‘s Deadly Women and is the subject of the book Alice + Freda Forever by Alexis Coe.

1892, UK – Lesbian writer Virgian Woolfe (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) is born in London. She is considered one of the foremost modernists of the 20th-century and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device.  The most celebrated of the Bloomsbury set, her writing is cerebral, and subtle. Woolfe’s greatest love was probably Vita Sackville-West (9 March 1892 – 2 June 1962), an English poet, novelist, and garden designer. The fruit of the affair is the novel Orlando, considered to be the most beautiful love poem in the English language. 

1962 – Aaron Fricke (born Jan. 25, 1962) is born in Providence Rhode Island. He is a gay rights activist best known for the pivotal case in which he successfully sued Cumberland High School in Cumberland, Rhode Island, for not allowing him to bring his boyfriend to the senior prom at. Aaron later wrote of his experience in a book, Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay. He later collaborated with his father, Walter Fricke, on a book about their relationship and of the elder Fricke’s coming to terms with his son’s homosexuality. That book, Sudden Strangers: The Story of a Gay Son and His Father, was published shortly after Walter Fricke’s death from cancer in 1989.

2005 – Alameda County, California’s Board of Supervisors votes 4–0 to prohibit discrimination in public-sector employment, services and facilities based on gender identity

2011 – The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010 Summary Report is released. It’s the first LGBTQ-specific report of its kind. Sexual minority respondents report intimate partner violence at rates at least equal to those of heterosexuals.

2012 – Air Force Col. Ginger Wallace (born 1969) becomes the first openly lesbian or gay member of the U.S. military to have a same-sex partner participate in the pinning ceremony tradition that had been reserved for spouses and family members. Her partner of 10 years, Kathy Knopf, pinned her colonel wings. The two sat in the First Lady’s gallery seats when President Obama delivered his State of the Union address in 2012.

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.