Today in LGBT History – July 19

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.   —Marcus Tullius Cicero

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

Today in LGBT History – July 19

508, Lebanon – Marina the Monk (dates of birth and death uncertain) was the daughter of a wealthy nobleman who wanted to live in the Monastery of Qannoubine in the Kadisha Valley of Lebanon. After her father found a husband for her, rather than marry, Marina cut her hair, donned men’s clothes, and changed her name to Marinus. When she died, the monks changed his clothes for burial and discovered he was female. She defied gender roles so well that her fellow monks never once suspected that Brother Marinos was a woman, as they attributed her lack of beard and high voice as a result of pious asceticism. Her discipline and self-control also goes against the assumption of what is typical female behavior, for when she was accused of fathering a child (after years of staying in the monastery, long after her father died) she did not break down and tell the truth, as many would assume, but instead took responsibility for the child that was not hers. On this day, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Marina the Monk.

1822, UK – The Irish Bishop of Clogher Percy Jocelyn (November 29, 1764 – September 3, 1843) is discovered having sex with a soldier in the 1stRegiment of Guards in an alehouse in London. This is one of the largest public homosexual scandals involving the Church in the 19thcentury. The bishop is arrested, but it is possible he is allowed to escape to avoid the spectacle of the government prosecuting a clergymember. Jocelyn flees to Scotland and lives out his life under the name of Thomas Wilson, working as a butler.

1875 – Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar Nelson (July 19, 1875 – September 18, 1935) is born. She was an American poet, journalist and political activist. Among the first generation born free in the South after the Civil War, she was one of the prominent African Americans involved in the artistic flourishing of the Harlem Renaissance. Her first husband was the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar; she then married physician Henry A. Callis; and last married Robert J. Nelson, a poet and civil rights activist. Dunbar had a long-term relationship with educator Edwina Kruse (1848-?), the school’s principal, and affairs with affairs with artist Helene London and journalist Fay Jackson Robinson (1902-1988).

1884 – An editorial in a New York medical journal said that urnings, a term coined by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (August 28, 1825 – July 14, 1895 to describe men who are attracted to other men, have an irrepressible desire to act like females, and that their “perverted feelings” lead to insanity and suicide. The article was an attempt to remove homosexuality from the realm of the criminal and into the realm of the medical.

1921 – The US Senate Naval Affairs Committee issues its “Report on Alleged Immoral Conditions and Practices at the Naval Training Station, Newport, RI,” accusing officers under the command of Franklin D. Roosevelt, former assistant secretary of the US Navy, of ordering enlisted men to engage in 11 immoral practices in order to entrap “perverts” and obtain evidence against them. The report is also one of the first to document gay male cruising areas including Riverside Drive in New York City.

1925 – A book reviewer for the New York Times, Percy A. Hutchison, writes about a new translation of the poetry of Sappho (c. 630 – c. 570 BC). He criticizes previous translators who purposely mistranslated the love poems directed toward women by masculinizing the subject. He also criticizes the fanatical Christians who destroyed much of her work by burning the library at Alexandria in 391, and Pope Gregory VII who ordered much of what remained to be destroyed.

1970 – Hans Knight of the Philadelphia Sunday Bulletinwrites an article that begins “homosexuals are sick. Very sick. They’re sick of wearing masks. They’re sick of being snickered and sneered at. They’re sick of being feared. They’re sick of being called queers, faggots, and fairies. They’re sick of being punished for being honest, of being labeled criminals by the letter of the law. They’re sick of being barred from federal jobs and the armed forces. They’re sick of being insulted on one hand, pitied on the other. Most of all, they’re sick of being told they’re sick.”

1974 – Beth Chayim Chadashim synagogue in Los Angeles receives its charter from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, making it the first officially recognized gay and lesbian synagogue. Affiliated with Reform Judaism,[1] it has been acknowledged by the Los Angeles Conservancy as being “culturally significant”[2] as both the first LGBT synagogue in the world, the first LGBT synagogue recognized by the Union for Reform Judaism and, in 1977, as the first LGBT synagogue to own its own building.In 1973, BCC received a Torah scroll from the town of Chotebor, Czechoslovakia, on permanent loan from Westminster Synagogue in London. It continues to be a cherished guest at BCC. Janet Marder was the congregation’s first rabbi. Lisa Ann Edwards later served as a student rabbi under their first full-time rabbi, Denise Eger(born March 14, 1960).

1977 – Actor Danny Roberts (July 19, 1977) is born. He is best known for appearing on The Real World: New Orleans in 2000. Prior to beginning the show, he had recently begun a relationship with Paul Dill, a US Army captain stationed in Vicenza, Italy. Because of the U.S. Military “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward homosexuals, Paul’s face was obscured on TV and much national attention was brought to the issue.In early 2004 MTV aired a special where Paul (then out of the military) revealed his face for the first time and the policy and its effects were discussed. In November 2006, Roberts announced in The Advocate magazine that he and Dill had split up.

 1984 – Gay author Roger Austen (1935-1984)commits suicide. He  was a literary historian whose work focused on gay writers. He was the author of Playing the Game: the Homosexual Novel in America (1977), and Genteel Pagan: The Double Life of Charles Warren Stoddard, which was unpublished at the time of his suicide. The Stoddard manuscript was later edited by Austen’s friend and mentor, Syracuse University professor John W. Crowley, and published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 1991. Additional biographical information and an account of Austen’s friendship with Crowley can be found in Crowley’s lengthy preface to Genteel Pagan.

1989 – Urvashi Vaid (born 8 October 1958) is appointed to replace Jeff Levi as executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Urvashi is an Indian-AmericanLGBT rights activist. In April 2009 Out magazine named her one of the 50 most influential LGBT people in the United States. Vaid shares homes in Manhattan and Provincetown, Massachusetts with her partner, comedian Kate Clinton.

1990 – The House of Representatives Ethics Committee votes to reprimand Rep. Barney Frank (born March 31, 1940) for his involvement with a male prostitute. Attempts to have Frank expelled from Congress by Reps William Dannemeyer and Newt Gingrich failed.

2001 – Rhode Island becomes the second state in the country to ban discrimination against transsexuals, cross-dressers and others who cross sex boundaries. The law, which became effective without the governor’s signature, prohibits discrimination based on “gender identity or expression” in housing, employment and credit. The law ensured that a worker cannot be fired for having “sex reassignment” surgery.

2004 – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California refuses to apologize to gays for using the word “girlie-man” to describe his political foes.

2005, Iran – Iranian gay youths Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, are publicly hanged in the town square in Mashhad in northeast Iran.

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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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