Today in LGBT History – July 26

America, the country you lead was formed in defiance of strongmen, bullies and the idea that might makes right. A free press is a metaphor for what makes America great.  —Chris Cuomo, CNN

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

Today in LGBT History – July 26

1944, UK – Mick Jagger (born 26 July 1943) is born in Dartford, England. Androgynous, gender defiant, and ambisexual, Jagger has come to symbolize rock from the 60s and 70s. Look-alike ex-wife Bianca once claimed he married her because “he wanted to achieve the ultimate by making love to himself.” 

1959 – Kevin Spacey Fowler (born July 26, 1959) is an American actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and singer. He began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s before obtaining supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical acclaim in the early 1990s that culminated in his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actorfor the neo-noir crime thriller The Usual Suspects (1995), and an Academy Award for Best Actor for the midlife crisis-themed drama American Beauty (1999). In October 2017, actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making a sexual advance toward him when Rapp was 14. In the wake of Rapp’s accusation, numerous other men alleged that Spacey had sexually harassed or assaulted them. As a result, Netflix cut all ties with him, shelved his film Gore and removed him from the cast of the last season of House of Cards.

1979 – The Advocatemagazine first mentions “bears” in print. Bears are “usually hunky chunky types reminiscent of railroad engineers and former football greats.

1981 – Dr. Jeanette Howard Foster (November 3, 1895 – July 26, 1981), author of Variant Women in Literature, dies on this date in Arkansas. Dr. Foster was an American librarian, professor, poet, and researcher in the field of lesbian literature. She pioneered the study of popular fiction and ephemera in order to excavate both overt and covert lesbian themes. Her years of pioneering data collection culminated in her 1956 study Sex Variant Women in Literature, which has become a seminal resource in LGBT studies. Initially self-published by Foster via Vantage Press, it was photoduplicated and reissued in 1975 by Diana Press and reissued in 1985 by Naiad Press with updating additions and commentary by Barbara Grier.

1985 – U.S. Senators Pete Wilson (R-CA) and Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY) attempt to hold a briefing on AIDS for Republican senators. Not a single Senator shows up for it.

2011 –RuthieBerman (born July 19, 1936) was a health and physical education teacher at a Brooklyn high school. She and her partner ConnieKurtz (March 30, 1934– May 27, 2018) sued the New York City Board of Education for domestic partner benefits in 1988, eventually winning in 1994. The couple came out of the closet onThe Phil Donahue Show.Berman and Kurtz started branches of Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in Florida and New York, and in 2000, they began serving as co-chairs of the New York State NOW Lesbian Rights Task Force. They also founded The Answer is Loving Counseling Center (they are both certified counselors) and worked there for over twenty years. They were married on July 26, 2011, in New York. Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum officiated.They retired to Palm Beach County, Florida, where they were active in Democratic, LGBT, feminist, and #BlackLivesMatter politics. The Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act has been slowly making its way through Congress.

1989 – In a response to political outcries over a Robert Mapplethorpe (November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) exhibit, Jesse Helms leads a fight in the U.S. Senate to curtail National Endowment for the Arts funding for “obscene or indecent art,” including artworks that depict “sadomasochism, homoeroticism, the exploitation of children, or individuals engaged in sex acts.” The measure was overwhelmingly adopted.

1990 – President George H. W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act which prohibits discrimination against various groups of people including those living with AIDS.

2007 – Fox News host/homophobe Bill O’Reilly apologizes on the air for errors in a widely criticized June 21 segment that reported a “nationwide epidemic” of violent lesbian gangs terrorizing neighborhoods and schools. O’Reilly was fired in 2017 for sexual harassment.

1989 – Studio 54 creator Steve Rubell (December 2, 1943 – July 25, 1989) dies of complications from AIDS.

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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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