Today in LGBT History – JULY 12

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 – JULY 12

1817 – Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) is born in Concord, Massachusetts. He was an American essayistpoetphilosopherabolitionistnaturalisttax resisterdevelopment criticsurveyor, and historian. A leading transcendentalist,Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay “Civil Disobedience” (originally published as “Resistance to Civil Government”), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. His life was spent falling in and out of love with his male companions. He strove to portray himself as an ascetic puritan. However, his sexuality has long been the subject of speculation, including by his contemporaries. Thoreau never married and was childless. Critics have called him heterosexual, homosexual, or asexual.There is no evidence to suggest he had physical relations with anyone, man or woman. Some scholars have suggested that homoerotic sentiments run through his writings and concluded that he was homosexual.

1868, Germany- Birth date of poet Stefan George (July 12, 1868 – December 4, 1933). Believing that the purpose of poetry was distance from the world—he was a strong advocate of art for art’s sake—George’s writing had many ties with the French Symbolistmovement and he was in contact with many of its representatives, including Stéphane Mallarmé and Paul Verlaine. George was an important bridge between the 19th century and German modernism, even though he was a harsh critic of the then modern era. George’s “evident homosexuality”is reflected in works such as Algabal and the love poetry to a gifted adolescent of his acquaintance named Maximilian Kronberger,whom he called “Maximin”, and whom he identified as a manifestation of the divine. 

1876, France – Birth date of French writer Max Jacob (July 12, 1876 – March 5, 1944) who was a poet, painter, writer, and critic. He was among the leaders of the avant-garde art movement in Paris during the early 20th century. He is regarded as an important link between the symbolistsand the surrealists, as seen in his prose poems Le cornet à dés (The Dice Box, 1917) and in his paintings, exhibitions of which were held in New York City in 1930 and 1938. Max Jacob was Jewish but converted to Catholicism hoping to stem his homosexuxal urges. He was arrested on February 24, 1944 by the Gestapoand died in the infirmary of Le Cité de la Muette, a former housing block which served as the internment camp known as Drancy.

1908 – Milton Berle (born Mendel Berlinger; July 12, 1908 – March 27, 2002) was an American comedianand actor. As the host of NBC‘s Texaco Star Theater (1948–55), he was the first major American television starand known to millions of viewers as “Uncle Miltie” and “Mr. Television” during TV’s golden age. While Berle was heterosexual, he often cross-dressed on his television shows.

1918 – Happy 100thbirthday to American novelist, biographer, literary critic, and essayist Doris Grumbach (born July 12, 1918) is born on this date in New York City. She is an American novelist, memoirist, biographer, literary critic, and essayist. She taught at the College of Saint Rosein Albany, New York, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and American Universityin Washington, DC, and was literary editor of the The New Republic for several years. Following her 1972 divorce, she began a relationship with Sybil Pike, who became and remains her life partner.  For two decades, she and Sybil operated a bookstore, Wayward Books, in Sargentville, Maine, until 2009 when they moved to a retirement home in Kennett SquarePennsylvania.

1934 – Pianist Van Cliburn (Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr.) (July 12, 1934 – February 27, 2013)is born. He was an American pianist who achieved worldwide recognition in 1958 at the age of 23 when he won the inaugural quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competitionin Moscow during the Cold War. Cliburn received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2001. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003 by President George W. Bush, and, in October 2004, the Russian Order of Friendship, the highest civilian awards of the two countries. He was also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award the same year. In 1998, Cliburn was named in a lawsuit by his domestic partner of seventeen years, mortician Thomas Zaremba. In the suit, Zaremba claimed entitlement to a portion of Cliburn’s income and assets and went on to charge that he might have been exposed to HIV and claimed emotional distress. Each claim was subsequently dismissed by an Appellate Court, citing palimony suits are not permitted in the state of Texas unless the relationship is based on a written agreement.

1940, Germany – A directive from Heinrich Himmler of the Nazi Reich Main Security Office mandated that any homosexual who had seduced more than one partner would be put into a concentration camp. Evidence of a sexual act was often absent in meeting the criteria.

1948 – Milton Teagle “Richard” Simmons (born July 12, 1948) is an American fitness guru, actor, and comedian. He promotes weight-loss programs, prominently through his Sweatin’ to the Oldies line of aerobics videos and is known for his eccentric, flamboyant, and energetic personality. Aside from his three Dalmatians and two maids, Simmons lives alone in Beverly Hills, California. While his sexual orientation has been the subject of much speculation, he has never publicly discussed his sexuality. In May 2017, Simmons sued the National EnquirerRadar Online and American Media, Inc. for libel and false claims that he was undergoing gender reassignment. In September 2017, Simmons lost the lawsuit, and was ordered to pay the defendants’ attorney’s fees.

1975 – Cheyenne David Jackson (born July 12, 1975) is born. He is an American actor and singer-songwriter.His credits include leading roles in Broadway musicals and other stage roles as well as film and television roles, concert singing, and music recordings. Jackson appeared on the March 26, 2008, cover of The Advocate. The magazine used the caption: “Hello, gorgeous! For leading man Cheyenne Jackson, coming out is a beautiful thing.” In 2008, he was named “Entertainer of the Year” by Out and appeared alongside Gus Van SantKaty Perry, and Sam Sparro on the magazine’s commemorative 100th issue in December. Jackson is an LGBT rights supporter and an international ambassador for The Foundation for AIDS Research AmFAR.. Jackson is also a national ambassador and spokesperson for the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to serving the needs of LGBT youth. In October 2013, Jackson announced he was dating actor Jason Landau (April 121977). They were married in Encino, California in September 2014. Jackson and Landau welcomed twins Willow, a girl, and Ethan, a boy, on October 7, 2016.

1976 – Kyrsten Sinema (born July 12, 1976) is born. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, making her the first openly bisexual member of Congress.A member of the Democratic Party, prior to being elected, she served in both chambers of the Arizona legislature, being elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2005, and the Arizona Senate in 2011. Sinema has worked for the adoption of the DREAM Act and has campaigned against Propositions 107 and 102, two voter referendums to ban the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona. In 2005 and 2006, she was named the Sierra Club‘s Most Valuable Player. She also won the 2006 Planned Parenthood CHOICE Award, 2006 Legislator of the Year Award from both the Arizona Public Health Association and the National Association of Social Workers, 2006 Legislative Hero Award from the Arizona League of Conservation Voters, and the 2005 Stonewall Democrats‘ Legislator of the Year Award. In 2010, she was named one of Time Magazine‘s “40 Under 40.” Sinema is the only openly non-theist or atheist member of Congress,although she herself has dissociated from such labels.

1982, France – France removes homosexuality from its official list of mental illnesses.

1986 – The International Lesbian and Gay Association votes almost unanimously not to revoke the membership of the South African Gay Association after testimony from a representative who stated that the organization was opposed to apartheid.

1998, Poland – Poland’s first gay pride demonstration was canceled because city authorities refused to issue the necessary permits.

1999 – William Douglas Ireland (March 31, 1946 – October 26, 2013) was an Americanjournalistand bloggerwho wrote about politicspowermedia, and LGBT issues.He was the U.S. correspondent for the French political-investigative weekly Bakchichfor which he also wrote a weekly column, and he was the Contributing Editor for International Affairs of Gay City News.Scott Tucker has called him “not only a left-wing critic of sexual and political conformism among sectors of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movements, but … also one of the notable public intellectuals of the civil libertarian left. On this day Ireland suggested “Rebuilding the Gay Movement” in “The Nation,” and that “the direction the gay movement takes will depend not on checkbook activism but on the kind of energy and commitment that people bring to work in their own communities. This may involve some nasty battles with more conservative gay elements and force the debate into the open, but the ultimate goal is victories that last, and that’s worth the fight.”

2018 – Angela Bowen (February 6, 1936 – July 12, 2018) dies. She was an American dance teacher, English professor, and a lesbian rights activist. Bowen co-founded the Bowen/Peters School of Dance in New Haven, Connecticut in the 1960s. It closed down in 1982. She became a gay rights activist and served on the board of the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays. Bowen was a professor of English and Women’s Studies at California State University, Long Beach. She was the subject of the 2016 documentary, The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen, by  her wife Jennifer Abod and Mary Dupree which won Best Documentary in the “Women’s History U.S.” category at the 2017 To the Contrary About Women and Girls film festival.Bowen suffered from Alzheimer’s diseaseand died on July 12, 2018 in Long Beach, California, at 82.

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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