Today in LGBT History – July 18

The Congressional Oath of Office: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Learning our history IS resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – July 18

64, Italy – Roman Emperor Nero (15 December 37 AD – 9 June 68 AD) took the role of a bride in a public wedding ceremony to Pythagoras. Nero also married other men and some women during his lifetime.

1865, UK – Playwright Laurence Housman (July 18, 1865 – February 20, 1959) is born in Fockbury, England. He and his sibling – the classicist A. E. Housman (26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936)and sister Clemence (23 November 1861 – 6 December 1955)who was a woodcut artist and an activist in the women’s suffrage movement– are all gay. There is no doubt he was helped in his career by Oscar Wilde  (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900). His greatest script was “Victoria Regina”.

1882 – A new edition of Walt Whitman’s (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) Leaves of Grassis released by Rees Welsh & Company publisher. It was rejected by his former publishers on obscenity charges. The first printing of 1000 of the new edition sold out in one day even though it was boycotted by major retailers.

1892 – Alice Mitchell’s trial begins in Tennessee. Alice Mitchell (November 26, 1872-March 31, 1898) was an American woman who gained notoriety for the murder of her lover Freda Ward. On February 23, 1892, the 19-year-old Mitchell cut the throat of her lover, 17-year-old Freda Ward. Mitchell was subsequently found insane by means of a jury inquisition and placed in a psychiatric hospital until her death in 1898. The case, exploited by sensationalist press, and focused attention of the sexual attachments of women and drew out into the public discourse discussions of lesbianism. The case was headlined as “A Very Unnatural Crime” across the country. The case influenced the popular literature of the era which began to depict lesbians as “murderous” and “masculine”.One identity that came to be through lesbians was the “mannish lesbian” creating dialogue of gender expression.

1966 – Before Stonewall there was Compton’s Cafeteria. People picket Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco when management starts using Pinkerton agents and police to harass LGBT customers. This precedes the August 1966 riot at Compton’s that is considered one of the first LGBT rights protests in the U.S.

1969 – Elizabeth M. Gilbert (born July 18, 1969) is an American author, essayist, short story writer, biographer, novelist, and memoirist. She is best known for her 2006 memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, which had spent 199 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and which was also made into a film by the same name in 2010. On September 7, 2016, Gilbert published a Facebook post saying that she was in a relationship with her best friend, writer Rayya Elias(1960-January 4, 2018). On June 6, 2017, the two celebrated a commitment ceremony with close family and friends. Elias died of pancreatic cancer on January 4, 2018.

2006 – Alabama’s first openly gay public official, Patricia Todd (born July 25, 1955), wins the Democratic primary by 59 votes. She represented downtime Birmingham in the Alabama House of Representatives. She is the first ever openly gay elected official in the state of Alabama. Currently she is the Human Rights Campaign Alabama State Director. Formerly she was the associate director of AIDS Alabama. Her spouse was Jennifer Clarke. They were married in 2013 and divorced in 2014.

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(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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