Today in LGBT History – JANUARY 9

Kelly and I rode our bikes to the film festival yesterday since we had only daytime films to see. I love riding my bike. I have a hybrid here in Palm Springs and an electric-assist bike in Sequim for those Olympic Discovery Trail hills. I’m not a speed rider and don’t need one of those fancy-pants titanium skinny bikes with the seat that impales itself into one’s bottom area. I love my comfy bikes with high handlebars and welcoming seats and old-fashion ding-dong bells. And a basket! I think I ride more now than I did as a kid. My body feels so healthy when I ride, nd I get to see things that usually just whiz by when I’m in my car. Writing prompt: what’s your activity? What do you lke to do that keeps the heart pumping and the blood flowing? And did you do it as a youngster or is this something new in your life?

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 9

1859 – Carrie Lane Chapman (1859-1947) was born in Ripon, Wisconsin. Although there is nothing to suggest she was a lesbian, she was the women’s rights pioneer who founded the National League of Women Voters in 1919. 

1941 — Joan Baez (born January 9, 1941)is born. Baez, who is Mexican-American and describes herself as bisexual, is one of the most famous folk singers of all time. She is a songwriter, musician, and activistwhose contemporary folk music often includes songs of protest or social justice.She’s also known for standing up for social justice. She sang at Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington and stood with Cesar Chavez in the struggle for the rights of migrant farm workers. She protested the Viet Nam war and capital punishment and helped establish a west coast branch of Amnesty International. And she’s been a vocal advocate of gay and lesbian civil rights.

1959 – Linda Villarosa is an American writer, editor, and author. In the early 1990s, while a senior editor at Essence Magazine, she wrote Coming Out. The article was written by her and her mother, from their own perspectives, what it felt like to be a lesbian and what it felt like to have a lesbian daughter. She is also the co-author of Body & Soul: The Black Woman’s Guide to Physical Health and Emotional Well-being. Her novel, Passing for Black (2008) was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. She has trained journalists from around the world to better cover the international HIV/AIDS epidemic. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her partner and their two children.

1977 – The Episcopal Church ordains Ellen Marie Barrett (born February 10, 1946). She was the first open lesbian to be ordained to the priesthood following the Episcopal Church’s General Convention approval of the ordination of women in 1977. Barrett’s candor about herhomosexualitycaused great controversy within the church. Even prior to her ordination, she was a prominent spokesperson for the rights of gaysand lesbians in the church, especially regarding their ordination.

1978 – Sir John Gielgud, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and 26 other international celebrities take out a full-page ad in TimeMagazine (Jan. 9, 1978, V.73) to protest the recent series of political backlashes against gays in the U.S. The ad was entitled “What’s Going on in America” and sponsored by the Stichting Vrije Relatierechten Foundation (Foundation for Free Human Partnership).

1988, UK – More than 10,000 lesbians and gay men demonstrate their opposition to Clause 28 in a march through central London. Clause 28of the Local Government Act 1988 affected England, Wales and Scotland. The amendment was enacted on 24 May 1988, and stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.  It was repealed on 21 June 2000 in Scotland by the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, one of the first pieces of legislation enacted by the new Scottish Parliament, and on 18 November 2003 in the rest of the United Kingdom by section 122 of the Local Government Act 2003.

1991, UK – An unprecedented number of prominent gay and lesbian artists come out in a public forum. Wishing to “respectfully distance” themselves from Derek Jarman’s criticism of gay actor Ian McKellen’s (born 25 May 1939)acceptance of a knighthood from the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher, they publish a widely discussed statement in support of McKellen in the Guardian. Among the signees are Simon Callow, Michael Cashman, Nancy Diuguid, Simon Fanshawe, Stephen Fry, Philip Hedley, Bryony Lavery, Michael Leonard, David Lun, Tim Luscombe, Alec McCowen, Cameron Mackintosh, Pam St. Clement, john Schlesinger, Antony Sher, and Martin Sherm.

2009, Honduras – Prominent transgender activist Cynthia Nicole (1977-2009) is fatally shot in Comayagua. Human Rights Watch issues a statement saying that “Cynthia Nicole fought tirelessly to secure basic rights protections for transgender sex workers.”

 2016 – When Hubert Edward Spires was twenty years old, he decided to serve his country by joining the military. Because he was a gay man in a very different time, though, he was removed through an “undesirable” discharge. On this day, the 91-year-old Connecticut man finally received the honorable discharge he was denied 68 years ago. In 1946, he joined what was then called the U.S. Army Air Force and became a chaplain’s assistant at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Spires quickly took to the work, which included writing letters to families worried about their loved ones, playing organ during Catholic Mass and preparing the chapel for various services. Because of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2010, it became possible for Spires to apply to have the status of his discharge changed. The 91-year-old Spires filed a federal lawsuit seeking an honorable discharge so he can receive a military burial.The Air Force has changed the 91-year-old’s records to an honorable discharge. Spires said, “I can go to my grave with my head held high.”

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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