Today in LGBT History – July 21

Our very democracy depends on a free and independent press. Without it, authoritarianism wins and democracy dies.  —Warren J. Blumenfeld

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

Today in LGBT History – July 21

1414, Italy – Fransesco della Rovere (July 21, 1414 – August 12, 1484), who later became Pope Sixtus IV, is born on this date. According to the later published chronicle of the Italian historian Stefano Infessura, “Diary of the City of Rome“, Sixtus was a “lover of boys and sodomites” – awarding benefices and bishoprics in return for sexual favors, and nominating a number of young men as cardinals; some of whom were celebrated for their good looks. He founded the Sistine Chapel where the team of artists he brought together introduced the Early Renaissance to Rome with the first masterpiece of the city’s new artistic age. In addition to restoring the aqueduct that provided Rome an alternative to the river water that had made the city famously unhealthy, Sixtus IV restored or rebuilt over 30 of Rome’s dilapidated churches and added seven new ones.

1730, The Netherlands – Holland issues an edict justifying arrests and capital punishment of homosexuals.

1899 – Poet Hart Crane (July 21, 1899 – April 27, 1932) is born in Garrettsville, Ohio. He has been called “a Dionyesian ecstatic from Cleveland, drunk on metaphysics and cheap red wine.” Crane associated his sexuality with his vocation as a poet and had a number of lovers until his suicide at the age of 32. His most famous poem, “The Bridge,” appears in The Complete Poems of Hart Crane.

1977, Canada – The Ontario Human Rights Code Review Committee releases its report Life Together, calling for major changes in code and commission, including strong support for inclusion of sexual orientation. 

1980, Russia – Enso Francone, a 32 year-old Italian in Moscow for the summer Olympics, chains himself to a fence in Red Square to protest Soviet persecution of homosexuals. He was dragged away by KGB officers.

1986 – U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (born March 31, 1940) addresses the House of Representatives for one hour regarding a Justice Department memo that misrepresents medical evidence to give the impression that AIDS is casually transmitted. He criticized the memo as an invitation to discriminate.

1988 – Michael Dukakis officially becomes the Democratic candidate for President. During his acceptance speech he promises to do more in the fight AIDS.

1997 – Chrysler employee and gay activist Ron Woods spoke about his coming out in The New Yorker. He had been physically assaulted and received death threats.

1998 – The Lesbian Health Initiative in Houston receives a $50,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

1998, UK — Waheed Alli, Baron Alli(born 16 November 1964) takes his place in the House of Lords as the youngest and the first openly gay Muslim life peer to be appointed in Britain. He is a British multimillionaire media entrepreneur and politician. He was co-founder and managing director of Planet 24, a TV production company, and managing director at Carlton Television Productions. He was, until November 2012, chairman of He is the Chief Executive of Silvergate Media, which purchased two of the media rights previously held by Chorion Ltd, where Alli was former chairman. Alli is a patron of Oxford Pride, the annual Pride event in Oxfordshire, and of Pride London. He is also a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

1999, Mexico – Meeting to discuss the formation of Gay/Lesbian Pride Committee of Guadalajara and to join the Pride Organization National and International Plan. The event took place at the Flama Latina night club.

2014 – President Obama issues an executive order to prohibit job discrimination against LGBT people in federal employment.

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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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