Today in LGBT History – July 18

Yesterday’s memorial service for Paul Maynard was deeply touching. Paul was a Naval officer and received a military service with the flag presentation to his husband Anthony and taps blown in the chapel. Kelly was one of the speakers and shared her love and respect for Paul. There were a number of gay men at the service who are veterans. They were invited to salute when the flag was presented.

Far too often we forget that many LGBT people served our country proudly. (Indeed, my friend open lesbian Tammy Smith is currently a Brigadier General!) Most of the veterans at the service yesterday had served in Viet Nam. As Sgt. Leonard Matlovich once said, he was awarded for killing many people and kicked out of the military for loving one. As we honor our U.S. vets, remember that some of those vets are LGBT.

Rest in peace, dear Paul.

 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 siblings – the classicist A. E. Housman and sister Clemence who was a woodcut artist – are all gay. There is no doubt he was helped in his career by Oscar Wilde. His greatest script was “Victoria Regina”.

1882 – A new edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is 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 (1892-1892) was an American woman charged 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

1929 – Richard Totten “Dick” Button (July 18, 1929) is born. He is an American former figure skater and a well-known long-time skating television analyst. He is a twice Olympic Champion(1948, 1952) and five-time World Champion (1948–1952). Button is credited as having been the first skater to successfully land the double axel jump in competition in 1948, as well as the first triple jump of any kind – a triple loop – in 1952. He also invented the flying camel spin which was originally known as the “Button camel.” Button graduated from Harvard University in 1952 where he was a member of The Delphic Club. He received a JD degree from Harvard Law School in 1956. On July 5, 1978, Button and five other victims were attacked with baseball bats by a gang of teenagers in New York City’s Central Park. The gay-bashing left all six victims with skull fractures; Button also suffered serious nerve damage and permanent hearing loss in one ear. In 1996, Button was named to the 100 Golden Olympians (a USOC program to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic Games and honor America’s best Olympic athletes).

1966 –  Before Stonewall there was Compton’s. 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 transgender rights protests in the U.S.

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 currently the Human Rights Campaign Alabama State Director. Formerly she was the associate director of AIDS Alabama.

2014 – The White House announces that President Barack Obama will sign an executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees and job seekers.

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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