Today in LGBT History – July 10

Yesterday Kelly and I went to a picnic hosted by Indivisible Sequim. We spent the afternoon chatting with politically like-minded folks from around our town about the state of our local, state, and national issues. People were kind, intelligent, and passionate about Indivisible’s mission: “to energize and inform Americans about government’s potential and enlists them to imagine and create the government we need for all to have a safe, healthy, just, and prosperous future.” There at Indivisible chapters all over the US. Join one in your area today, like right now! The website is

Today in LGBT History – July 10

1871, France – Marcel Proust (July 10, 1871 – November 18, 1922) is born in Anteuil. The great French writer, perhaps the greatest of the first half of the 20th century, was rejected when he brought the manuscript for “Remembrance of Things Past” to a publisher. The rejection note reads “one has no idea what it’s all about.” His friend Andre Gide pointed out that Proust suffered a pronoun problem. Too many of his characters were women when they were intended to be men. Proust was homosexual, and his sexuality and relationships with men are often discussed by his biographers. His romantic relationship with composer Reynaldo Hahn, and his infatuation with his chauffeur and secretary, Alfred Agostinelli, are well documented.

1909 – The book Road to Oz, the fifth in the Oz series by L. Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919) is published. In gay slang, a “friend of Dorothy”  is a term for a gay man. While the precise origin of the term is unknown, some believe it is derived from this book. The book introduces readers to Polychrome who, upon meeting Dorothy’s traveling companions, exclaims, “You have some queer friends, Dorothy,” and she replies, “The queerness doesn’t matter, so long as they’re friends.” More commonly, “friend of Dorothy” refers to the film “The Wizard of Oz” because Judy Garland, who starred as the main character Dorothy, is a gay icon. In the early 1980s, the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) was investigating homosexuality in Chicago. Having heard gay men refer to themselves as “friends of Dorothy,” the NIS went on a futile search for the elusive woman clearly at the center of a homosexual ring.

1932 – American actor Nick Adams (July 10, 1931 – February 7, 1968) is born on this day. The blonde actor usually played neurotics or comic sidekick roles (such as Andy Griffith’s friend Ben in No Time For Sergeants). Before he got into acting, Adams was a well-known Hollywood hustler with reputation for having the biggest man-part in town. He was the roommate of James Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955). Adams tragically took his own life at age 36 in 1968.

1970 – The Austrian Parliament decriminalizes homosexual acts between consenting adults.

1970 – The national organization of Daughters of Bilitis is disbanded. Local chapters are free to continue as independent entities. The Daughters of Bilitis was the first lesbian rights organization in the United States. The organization, founded in 1955 by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon in San Francisco, was conceived as a social alternative to lesbian bars which were subject to raids and police harassment. As the DOB gained members, their focus shifted to providing support to women who were afraid to come out. The DOB educated them about their rights and about gay history. The historian Lillian Faderman declared, “Its very establishment in the midst of witch-hunts and police harassment was an act of courage, since members always had to fear that they were under attack, not because of what they did, but merely because of who they were.” The Daughters of Bilitis endured for 14 years, becoming an educational resource for lesbians, gay men, researchers and mental health professionals. Bilitis is the name given to a fictional lesbian contemporary of Sappho by the French poet Pierre Louÿs in his 1894 work The Songs of Bilitis in which Bilitis lives on the Isle of Lesbos alongside Sappho. 

1972 – Jim Foster and Madeleine Davis are the first openly gay and lesbian people to address a major party presidential nominating convention, the Democratic National Convention, held in Miami Beach, Florida. They called upon the party to add a gay rights plank to the platform. The plank was defeated. Jim Foster (November 19, 1934 – October 31, 1990) was an American LGBT rights and Democratic activist. He became active in the early gay rights movement when he moved to San Francisco following his undesirable discharge from the Army in 1959 for being homosexual. Foster co-founded the Society for Individual Rights (SIR), an early homophile organization, in 1964. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein credits SIR and the gay vote with generating her margin of victory in her election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969. Madeleine Davis (born 1940) is a noted gay rights activist. In 1970 she was a founding member of the Mattachine Society of the Niagara Frontier, the first gay rights organization in Western New York. In 1972, Davis taught the first course on lesbianism in the United States. She was also a founding member of HAG Theater, the first all-lesbian theater company in the US.

1972 – Ann Arbor, Michigan becomes the first U.S. city to pass a broad gay civil rights law. The city council passes the Human Rights Code making discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, public accommodation, and employment illegal throughout the city.

1985 – “Given a choice between sharing a park with homosexuals or a bunch of white-sheeted, racist, hate-peddling losers, we think we would prefer homosexuals.” This quote is from an editorial in the Texas Daily News regarding an upcoming anti-gay rally by the Ku Klux Klan.

2009 – Michael Herrera, 26, brutally murders Cesar Torres, 39, in El Paso, Texas. Herrera is charged with murder and receives a 25-year prison sentence. Torres was transgender.

LGBT Fact: Project 10: Dr. Virginia Uribe served as a teacher and counselor in the Los Angeles Unified School (LAUSD) district for 42 years. She founded LAUSD’s Project 10 program in 1984, then founded Friends of Project 10 Inc. in 1986. Project 10 provides support to LGBTQ students in public schools. Upon retirement from the LAUSD in 1998, Dr. Uribe put the in-school operations of Project 10 into the very capable hands of her partner Gail Rolf and began her new role as the major fundraiser for Friends of Project 10 Inc., which funds the Models of Excellence scholarship, the LGBTQ Youth Prom, and the annual Models of Pride conference.

Let your voice speak out and change the world! 




(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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