Today in LGBT History – July 20

Family has been on my mind for the past week or so. Kelly and I spent time with her biological family – siblings, nieces, nephews, and coattail – and now my bio family is arriving starting today. In my meeting last evening, the discussion of family and boundaries was hot on the table. The discussion included an examination of walls versus boundaries. I used to have walls…high, thick, impenetrable walls. And then one day one of my precious students committed suicide, and my walls crumbled. I realized that what I needed were healthy boundaries that told me what is and is not acceptable in my life, but still maintain an authenticity that doesn’t repel. Years later I even discovered that my boundaries don’t necessarily need to be rigid, and that they may change over time. It is my boundaries that allow me to interact with anyone but especially family in a way that is safe for me and respectful of them.

Think about it: do you have walls or boundaries?

Today in LGBT History – July 20

356 BCE – Alexander the Great (July 20, 356 BC – June 10, 323 BC) is born. Alexander died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon, at age 32. Alexander may have been bisexual which in his time was not controversial.

1845, France – In Paris, a mob attacks a group of about 50 men arrested by police in a sweep of the Tuileries Gardens, a popular cruising area.

1950 – Roberta Achtenberg (July 20, 1950) is born. She is an American politician who recently served as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on Civil Rights. She also served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, becoming the first openly lesbian or gay public official in the United States, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, whose appointment to a federal position was confirmed by the United States Senate.

1951 – The mission and purpose of the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles are ratified. The Mattachine Society is one of the earliest homophile organizations in the US.

1981 – Martina Navratilova ( born October 18, 1956) is granted U.S. citizenship, six years after she defected from Czechoslovakia. She is a retired tennis player and coach. In 2005, Tennis magazine selected her as the greatest female tennis player for the years 1965 through 2005 and is considered one of the best female players of all time. Navratilova was World No. 1 for a total of 332 weeks in singles, and a record 237 weeks in doubles, making her the only player in history to have held the top spot in both singles and doubles for over 200 weeks. In 1981, shortly after becoming a United States citizen, Navratilova gave an interview to New York Daily News sports reporter Steve Goldsteincoming out as bisexual and revealing that she had a sexual relationship with Rita Mae Brown, but asked him not to publish the article until she was ready to come out publicly. However, the New York Daily News published the article on July 30, 1981. Navratilova and Nancy Lieberman, her girlfriend at the time, gave an interview to Dallas Morning News columnist Skip Bayless, where Navratilova reiterated that she was bisexual and Lieberman identified herself as straight. Navratilova has since identified herself as a lesbian. On September 6, 2014, Navratilova proposed to her longtime girlfriend Julia Lemigova at the US Open. They married in New York on December 15, 2014.

1988 – A gay man, John Doe, in Chicago regains visitation rights with his four children after his ex-wife, Jane Doe, dropped her demand that he be tested for HIV. Patrick McGann, the mother`s attorney, said overnight visits with the father would endanger the children because, as a homosexual, John Doe is in a high-risk group for contracting the fatal disease. The case, which has been pending in the Domestic Relations Division of the court since last September, has been regarded as one with far-reaching consequences for homosexuals, who fear discrimination because of public concern over how acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is transmitted. 

LGBT Fact: The identification of The Castro in San Francisco as a gay neighborhood  began in the 1960s and 1970s as LGBT people began moving to the community. The first gay bar to have clear windows was Twin Peaks Tavern which removed its blacked-out windows in 1972. The term “Castro clone” originated in this neighborhood when some gay men began to adopt a masculine clothing style which included denim jeans and a plaid shirt. Lesbian bars and women’s organizations began to proliferate in the 1970s, including bars like Maud’s, Peg’s Place, Amelia’s, Wild Side West, and A Little More, as well as women’s coffeehouses, a bookstore and a bathhouse. Many women’s businesses and organizations were concentrated in the Valencia Street area of the Mission District.  The Castro is where Harvey Milk had his camera shop and did much of his organizing in the 1970s. The neighborhood now features permanent rainbow Pride flags, an LGBT History Museum, and a Walk of Fame with the names of notable LGBT people inscribed on the sidewalk. While The Castro retains its identity, in 2014 Spencer Michels of PBS Newshour stated that The Castro has become “a little more heterosexual, a slightly upscale shopping street.” The Mission district has long been a neighborhood with a strong queer Latino/a presence, and was home to the first Latino gay bar in San Francisco, Esta Noche, along with other gay Latino bars like La India Bonita, and El Rio. The Mission also was the home to Proyecto ContraSIDA por Vida, a Latino/a HIV Prevention organization. Lesbians, Latina and non-Latina, were particularly drawn to this neighborhood in the 1980s; it has hosted several lesbian bars, a Women’s Center, coffeehouses, a bookstore, and a woman-only bathhouse.

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!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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