Today in LGBT History – July 4

My greatest disappointment is that I believe that those of us who went through the war and tried to write about it, about their experience, became messengers. We have given the message, and nothing changed. —Elie Wiesel

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

Today in LGBT History – July 4

1826 – Composer Stephen Foster is born in Pittsburgh. (July 4, 1826 – January 13, 1864), known as “the father of American music,” was primarily known for his parlor and minstrel music. Foster wrote over 200 songs; among his best-known are “Oh! Susanna“, “Hard Times Come Again No More“, “Camptown Races“, “Old Folks at Home” (“Swanee River”), “My Old Kentucky Home“, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair“, “Old Black Joe“, and “Beautiful Dreamer“. He likely abandoned his wife for fellow composer George Cooper. There are many biographers who have published works on the life of Stephen Foster, but details differ widely. In addition, Foster wrote very little biographical information himself. His brother  destroyed much of the information about Stephen that he judged to reflect negatively upon the family.

 1855 – First edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grassis published. It’s considered the clearest expression of the author’s homosexual desires.

1895 – “America the Beautiful” is published. Its author, Katharine Lee Bates, was a professor at Wellesley College “who lived as ‘one soul together’ with Katharine Coman who was a history and political economy teacher and founder of the Wellesley College School Economics department. The pair lived together for twenty-five years until Coman’s death in 1915.

1965 – Organized by ECHO,  The East Coast Homophile Organizations, demonstrators picket at Independence Hallin Philadelphia. Picketers returned each year through 1969 for what came to be known as the Annual Reminder. It was the beginning a new era in Philadelphia LGBT culture as a presence in the community. A small group of conservatively dressed lesbians and gay men picket Independence Hall in in one of the first public demonstrations for gay rights. Among those marching is Barbara Gittings (July 31, 1932 – February 18, 2007).The picket is to call public attention to the lack of civil rights for LGBT people. The gatherings continues annually for five years. The Daughters of Bilitis and Mattachine Society members participate in the fifth and final picket in 1969.

1970 – The General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association becomes the first mainstream religious group in the US to recognize publicly the existence of gay, lesbian, and bisexual clergy and laity among its members and to demand “an end to all discrimination against homosexuals.”

1973 – The Seattle Lesbian Separatist Group (later the Gorgons) issues The Amazon Analysis, a manifesto and handbook of lesbian separatism. The paper’s nearly 100 mimeographed pages are passed among lesbians across the country.

July 4-7, 1975, Canada – In Winnipeg the New Democratic Party Gay Caucus is formed at the NDP national convention. 

1976 – Dykes on Bikes is founded as a group of lesbians on motorcycles who come together to lead the San Francisco Pride Parade. Chapters of the club have been leading Pride Parades around the world ever since.

Stand up, speak out, share your story!




(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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