Today in LGBT History – JANUARY 8

I quit smoking 45 years ago when I saw my daughter imitating me smoking while teething on a carrot stick. Over the years to this day, I occasionally feel a deep desire to have a cigarette, usually when someone in my space annoys that crap out of me, usually a student every now and then who affected me that way. I have an old friend who annoys me terribly, and yet the friendship has endured for over 60 years. Thank goodness I don’t see that friend often enough to actually light up. And yesterday at the film festive, we saw a disturbing film in which a 16 year-old transitioning male-to-female, that child hated their penis so much that they cut it off with scissors. While it’s not nearly the same thing, it caused great harm to that child’s body. Write about what bothers you so much that you desire to do unhealthy things to yourself or others.

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 8

1544, Italy – Cecchino de Bracci (diesd 1544), a teenage pupil of Michelangelo (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564)and nephew and lover of Luigi del Riccio, dies. His death inspires Michelangelo to write 48 funeral epigrams.

1907, Germany – Karl M. Baer (20 May 1885 – 26 June 1956), was a German-Israeli author, social worker, reformer, suffragette and Zionist. Assigned female at birth and named Martha Baer, he became one of the first people to undergo sex-change surgery, and one of the first, on this day in 1907, to gain full legal recognition of his gender identity and to have a new birth certificate issued reflecting his new gender, confirmed by theGerman courts. Baer also gained the right to marry and did so in October 1907.He began living as a man in 1905 and underwent multistage rudimentary sex-change surgery in October of 1906. He was released from the hospital that December with a medical certificate certifying his male identity. From 1908 to 1911 Baer was an insurance sales agent; on January 1, 1911 he took up a post as Consul for Jewish Life in Berlin. In December 1920 he became director of the Berlin section of the loge B’nai B’rith, a post he held until the Section’s forcible closure by the Gestapo on April 19, 1937. Baer was by then an important figure in Jewish society, and his influence on cultural life brought him into conflict with the Nazi administration. He was allowed to emigrate with his wife in June 1938 to Palestine, later to become Israel, where he worked between 1942 and 1950 as an accountant. By 1950 he was going blind and had to give up his job; nothing more is documented about him up to his death in 1956. He is buried in the Kiryat-Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv under the name Karl Meir Baer.

1947, UK – David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016)is born David Jones in London. The enfante terribleof punk, he was an English singer, songwriter and actor. He was a figure in popular music for over five decades, becoming acclaimed by critics and other musicians for his innovative work, and marked by reinvention and visual presentation, his music and stagecraft significantly influencing popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million albums worldwide, made him one of the world’s best-selling music artists. Though married to women twice, Bowie declared himself gay in an interview with Michael Watts for a 1972 issue of Melody Maker, coinciding with his campaign for stardom as Ziggy Stardust. In a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone, Bowie said his public declaration of bisexuality was “the biggest mistake I ever made” and “I was always a closet heterosexual.” On 10 January 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar, Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York City apartment.

1977 – Pauli Murray (November 20, 1910 – July 1, 1985), a civil rights activist from North Carolina, becomes the first African-American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest. She was an Americancivil rights activist, women’s rights activistlawyerEpiscopal priest, and author. Drawn to the ministry, in 1977 Murray became the first black woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest and she was among the first group of women to become priests in that church. U.S. President John F. Kennedy appointed Murray to the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women in 1961. In 1963 she became one of the first to criticize the sexism of the civil rights movement, in her speech “The Negro Woman and the Quest for Equality.” In 1966 she was a cofounder of the National Organization for Women (NOW), which she hoped could act as an NAACP for women’s rights. Although acknowledging the term “homosexual” in describing others, Murray preferred to describe herself as having an “inverted sex instinct” that caused her to “behave as a man attracted to women would.” She wanted a “monogamous married life” but one in which she was the masculine partner. The majority of her relationships were with women whom she described as “extremely feminine and heterosexual”. On July 1, 1985 the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray died of pancreatic cancer in the house she owned with a lifelong friend, Maida Springer Kemp.

1978 – Harvey Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) takes office on the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco, representing District 5. He was an American politician and the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Although he was the most pro-LGBTpolitician in the United States at the time, politics and activism were not his early interests; he was neither open about his sexuality nor civically active until he was 40, after his experiences in the counterculture movement of the 1960s. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, who was another city supervisor. Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

2003 – Dante ‘Tex’ Gill (April 2, 1930 – January 8, 2003)dies. Tex was transgender and a pimp, gangster and massage parlor owner. Tex was sent to prison for 13 years for tax evasion but died in prison at the age of 72 after serving 7 years. Tex’s spouse was Cynthia Bruno.

2011 – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is injured in a mass shooting in Arizona. Daniel Hernandez (born Jan. 25, 1990), Giffords’ openly gay intern, helps save her life then contacts her husband.

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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