Today in LGBT History – July 15

Kelly and I are back in Palm Springs this weekend for a wedding and a funeral. (Sounds like a movie!) It’s 112 degrees, 60 degrees higher than when we left Seattle yesterday morning.

I’ve been reading the speech Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave at the religious conference several days ago. His commitment to the concept of “religious freedom” as a method of bigotry and discrimination is deeply frightening. Religious freedom gives one the right to discriminate against anyone who offends one’s religious beliefs, whether based on sexual orientation or gender identity, race, religion, or otherwise – really, anything that’s protected in civil rights law. Here are excerpts:

A lot of people are concerned about what this changing cultural climate means for the future of religious liberty in this country. The challenges our nation faces today concerning our historic First Amendment right to the “free exercise” of our faith have become acute. I believe that this recent election was significantly impacted by this concern and that this motivated many voters. President Trump made a promise that was heard. In substance, he said he respected people of faith and he promised to protect them in the free exercise of their faith. This promise was well received…Since he was elected, President Trump has been an unwavering defender of religious liberty. He has promised that under a Trump Administration, “the federal government will never, ever penalize any person for their protected religious beliefs.” And he is fulfilling that promise. First, President Trump appointed an outstanding Supreme Court justice with a track record of applying the law as written, Neil Gorsuch. I have confidence that he will be faithful to the full meaning of the First Amendment and protect the rights of all Americans…This understanding in no way can be held to contend that government should be hostile to people of faith and is obligated to deprive public life of all religious expression…The president has also directed me to issue guidance on how to apply federal religious liberty protections. The department is finalizing this guidance, and I will soon issue it.

I do not trust this man nor this administration to issue safe “guidance on how to apply federal religious liberty protections.” To turn a phrase: for my family and me, we will resist.

Today in LGBT History – July 15

1834, Spain – End of the Spanish Inquisition, abolished by Ferdinand VII’s widow Maria Christina. Between 1000 and 1600 people had been convicted of sodomy during that time and 170 were executed.

1914, Scotland – “Ring of Bright Water” author and naturalist Gavin Maxwell (July 15, 1914 – September 7, 1969) is born on this date. Though he had been involved with several women and was married for a year, his loves were the men in his life.

1947 – Birth date of Lambda Literary Award winning poet and author Michael Lassell (July 15, 1947). He has written extensively in the fields of design, travel, the arts, and LGBT studies. He lives in New York City.

1962 – In New York City, Randy Wicker (Feb. 3, 1938) talks listener-supported radio station WBAI into broadcasting a taped program in which seven gay people discuss homosexuality. Widely publicized in the local press, the program is probably the first favorable broadcast on the subject in the U.S. While it resulted in positive comments in several newspapers and magazines, a group of homophobic listeners contacted the FCC to challenge the station’s license. The complaint was rejected.

1961 – David Cicilline is born (July 15, 1961). In 2003 he becomes the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capitol, Providence, Rhode Island. He has been the U.S. Representative for Rhode Island’s 1st congressional district since 2011.

1975 – Santa Cruz County, California, is the first U.S. county to make job discrimination against gay men and lesbians illegal.

1985 – An obviously ill Rock Hudson (Nov. 17, 1925 – Oct. 2, 1985) appears on television to promote his new cable series with Doris Day. His publicist explains his appearance by saying he was just getting over the flu.

1986 – The Missouri Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the state’s sodomy law. John Ashcroft was Missouri’s governor at this time and went on to run the Department of Justice during the G.W. Bush administration.

1990 – The book Behind the Mask by Dave Pallone (Oct. 5, 1951) debuts at #15 on the New York Times bestseller list. Pallone was a Major League Baseball umpire who was fired for being gay.

1991 – Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer (March 24, 1942) is informed by a military board that she is a great American, a great asset, a superb leader, that her many outstanding accomplishments have been admirable, that her 27 years of service have been of great value, and that she is to be discharged for being a lesbian. She was the highest ranking person to be discharged for homosexuality.

1999 – A 1897 letter written by Oscar Wilde (Oct. 16, 1854 – Nov. 30, 1900) to novelist Henrietta Stannard (Jan. 13, 1856 – Dec. 11, 1911) fetched $18,745.00 at a Sotheby’s Auction. Stannard was not a lesbian but wrote under the name of John Strange Winter.

2003 –Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a reality show of gay men who conduct makeovers for straight men, premieres on Bravo. The show features the “Fab Five,” a quintet of gay men – Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley, and Jai Rodriguez – who conduct makeovers for straight men. It plays on stereotypes that gay men know more about fashion, food, personal grooming, interior design and culture. The show becomes immensely popular and is praised by much of the mainstream gay press, but receives some criticism for its generalizations and stereotyping.

2005 – Robert Traynham, the chief of staff and communications director for homophobe Sen. Rick Santorum ,(R-Pa.) confirms rumors circulating in Washington for several months that he is gay. He continued to defend Santorum even into the 2016 election cycle.

2010, Argentina – The Senate approves same-sex marriage by a vote of 33-27.

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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