Today in LGBT History – January 7

Reading publications that capture an intrinsically LGBT sensibility or promote an openness and acceptance is one way to show your support for LGBT creative energy. In doing so you’re recognizing the impact LGBT people have in creating culture and cultural change. Today  am supportive of LGBT sensibility, sensitivity, and sexuality evident in many popular magazines. My support of such magazines helps to strengthen the power LGBT people have in the industry.    –from Proud to Be by Amy E. Dean

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

Today in LGBT History – January 7

1891 – Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an African-American novelist, short story writer, folklorist, and anthropologist. Of Hurston’s four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Living in Harlem in the 1920s, Hurston befriended the likes of Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) and Countee Cullen (May 30, 1903 – January 9, 1946), among several others. Her apartment, according to some accounts, was a popular spot for social gatherings. During a period of financial and medical difficulties, Hurston was forced to enter St. Lucie County Welfare Home, where she suffered a stroke. She died of hypertensive heart disease on January 28, 1960, and was buried at the Garden of Heavenly Rest in Fort Pierce, Florida. Her remains were in an unmarked grave until 1973. Novelist Alice Walker (born February 9, 1944) and literary scholar Charlotte D. Hunt found an unmarked grave in the general area where Hurston had been buried, and decided to mark it as hers. There were that that Zora was gay or at least bisexual.

1949 – On this day in Columbia, Mo., the Associated Press reported: Four men pleaded guilty yesterday to statutory charges and were placed on probation four years. They were Warren W. Heathman, itinerant agriculture instruction for the Veterans Administration at Rolla; Harry J. Sohn Jr., of Hannibal, former University of Missouri student; Willie D. Coots of Columbia, former clerk in a novelty shop, and Joe Byers, local grocer. The prior spring, newspapers reported on a “homosexual ring” with “mad homosexual parties” taking place near the University of Missouri campus. Professor E. K. Johnston’s 24-year teaching career was ruined when he and several others were arrested. Coots may have been Johnston’s partner at the time of the arrests, as reports at the time indicate that they had shared an apartment in Rolla “for the last 15 or 16 years.” Reports indicate that “at least of score” of other students and residents were implicated.

1957 – The board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) approves a national policy statement asserting that laws against sodomy and federal restrictions on employment of lesbians and gay men are constitutional.

1973 –Jack Baker adopts his partner, Mike McConnell, in Minnesota for tax benefits. Baker was the president of the University of Minnesota student body. They had applied for a marriage license in 1970 but were denied.

1977- The government-financed Canadian Broadcasting Corporation releases a new public policy on public service announcements from its headquarters in Ottawa. Nothing controversial, including issues around being gay, would be allowed.

1985 – Blaine Elswood writes about experimental AIDS drugs. Elswood founded the Guerilla Clinic in San Francisco, an underground group for AIDS activists who sold experimental AIDS drugs to those who wanted them.

1994, UK – The first-ever televised lesbian kiss in the UK airs on this day. Brookside is a British soap opera set in Liverpool, England. The series began on the launch night of Channel 4 on November 2, 1982, and ran for 21 years until November 4, 2003. 

2004 – Six former students – Alana Flores and five others — from Morgan Hill School district (in California) settle a lawsuit against the district for $1.1 million. “[The settlement also] requires the school district to implement mandatory annual training regarding harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity for administrators, teachers, middle school and high school students, and staff. The settlement ends five years of wrangling during which a state law was passed — with the Morgan Hill students’ input — prohibiting anti-gay harassment of students. The case also prompted a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in April that stated public school administrators who fail to take effective steps to counter anti-gay harassment could be violating the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection — even if they have an anti-discrimination policy in place. That ruling covered districts in California and eight other Western states and, according to plaintiffs’ attorneys, finally brought district officials to the negotiating table,” according to the L.A. Times.

2015, India – Transgender Mandu Bai Kinnar (born 1980), who was expelled from his family, is elected mayor of Raigarh in the state of Chhattisgarh.

2015 – Florida recognizes same-sex marriages.

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(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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