Today in LGBT History – JULY 16

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 16

1746, UK – Mary Hamilton (1721-?? ) was the subject of a notorious 18th century case of fraud and female cross-dressing, in which Hamilton, under the name of Charles,duped a woman into supposed marriage. She was arrested, charged with fraud, publicly whipped, and imprisoned for six months. While the surviving records of the case indicate that Hamilton was only prosecuted for deceiving one woman into marriage, newspaper reports at the time claimed that there had been 14 marriages in all.

1943, Cuba – Novelist Reinaldo Arenas (July 16, 1943 – December 7, 1990) is born. He was a Cubanpoet, novelist, and playwright who despite his early sympathy for Fidel Castro and the 1959 revolution, grew critical of and then rebelled against the Cuban government. He changed when the government began open persecution of homosexuals. His first novel, entitled Celestino Antes del Alba(Singing from the Well), was published in 1967. He came to the United States in 1980, fleeing the persecution of his homeland. On December 7, 1990, suffering from AIDS and too sick to continue writing, Arenas committed suicide.

1956 – Tony Kushner (born July 16, 1956) is born. Kushner, openly gay, received a Tony and the Pulitzer Prize for writing Angels in America(now an HBO movie) Angels in Americais about AIDS, religion/spirituality, family, sexuality, and politics in our culture. He also Kushner authored several children’s plays and an essay book, Thinking about the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness(1995). Kushner and his spouse Mark Harris(born November 25, 1963) held a commitment ceremony in April 2003, the first same-sex commitment ceremony to be featured in the Vows column of The New York Times. Harris is an editor of Entertainment Weekly and author of Pictures at a Revolution – Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. In summer 2008, Kushner and Harris were legally married at the city hall in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

1969 – The Mattachine Society of New York hosts an organizing meeting which over 200 attend. During the course of the meeting, approximately 40 participants walk out in dissatisfaction over chapter president Dick Leitsch’s handling of the post-Stonewall political energy. Richard “Dick” Valentine Leitsch (born May 11, 1935) is an American LGBT rights activist.He was president of the Mattachine Society, a gay rights group, in the 1960s. He conceptualized and lead the “Sip-In” at Julius’ Bar, which was one of the earliest acts of gay civil disobedience in the United States in which LGBT activists attempted to legally gain the right to drink in bars in New York. He is also known for being the first gay reporter to publish an account of the Stonewall Riots and the first person to ever interview Bette Midler in print media.

1973 – Chad Hunter Griffin (born July 16, 1973) is an American political strategist best known for his work advocating for LGBT rights in the United States.Griffin got his start in politics volunteering for the Bill Clinton presidential campaign, which led to a position in the White House Press Office at the age of 19. Following his stint in the White House and his graduation from Georgetown University, he led a number of political campaigns advocating for or against various California ballot initiatives, as well as a number of fundraising efforts for political candidates, such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.Following the 2008 passage of California’s highly publicized Proposition 8, which barred the recognition of same-sex marriage, Griffin founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) to overturn the law. AFER’s challenge, Perry v. Brown, was ultimately successful following a decision by the United States Supreme Court in June 2013. In 2012, Griffin was appointed president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT rights organization in the United States

1976 – The discharge of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich (July 6, 1943 – June 22, 1988) is upheld in a civilian court by Federal District Judge Gerhard Gesell. He was a Vietnam War veteran, race relations instructor, and recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. Matlovich was the first gay service member to purposely out himself to the military to fight their ban on gays, and perhaps the best-known gay man in America in the 1970s next to Harvey Milk(May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978). His fight to stay in the United States Air Force after coming out of the closet became a cause célèbre around which the gay community rallied. Matlovich was the first named openly gay person to appear on the cover of a U.S. newsmagazine. His tombstone, meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans, does not bear his name. It reads, “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.

1982 – The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service policy of barring homosexuals from entering the country is ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

1984 – U.S. News and World Report announces that gays and lesbians make up the seventh-largest voting bloc in the US.

1986 – Jeff Levi, executive director of NGLTF (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), announces plans for a Privacy Project to fight sodomy laws.

1992 – Bill Clinton becomes the first candidate for president to mention gays and lesbians in a speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president.

2001 – Leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) vote overwhelmingly to overturn a ban on ordaining homosexuals as ministers of the church. The 317-208 vote, taken at the church’s annual general assembly in Louisville, Kentucky, comes after more than two hours of debate.

2003 – Drew Barrymore (born February 22, 1975) comes out as bisexual. She is an American actress, author, director, model and producer. She is a member of the Barrymore family of American stage and film actors, and is a granddaughter of actor John Barrymore. Barrymore began acting on television, and soon transitioned to film with roles in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Irreconcilable Differences (1984).

2003 – Rev. Troy Perry (born July 27, 1940), founder and moderator of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, marries his longtime partner in Toronto. Perry lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Phillip Ray DeBlieckwhom he married under Canadian law at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. They sued the State of California upon their return home after their Toronto wedding for recognition of their marriage and won. The state appealed and the ruling was overturned by the State Supreme Court after five years in their favor.

2005 – Thailand announces it will provide free HIV meds to any citizen who needs them.


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!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.