Today in LGBT History – JULY 4


Rudyard Kipling said: If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten. The snippets of LGBTQ history here are the stories of our lives, the stories of the giants on whose shoulders we all stand. Learn about them then tell the stories and remember… because knowing your 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 (July 4, 1826 – January 13, 1864), born in Pittsburgh and known as “the father of American music,” was famous 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. 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  (August 12, 1859 – March 28, 1929), was a professor at Wellesley College “who lived as ‘one soul together’ with Katharine Coman (November 23, 1857 – January 11, 1915)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 isto 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.

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. In 1976 a small group of 20 – 25 women motorcyclists gathered at the head of the San Francisco Pride Parade and, unbeknownst to them, a tradition began. One of these women coined the phrase “Dykes on Bikes®” and the San Francisco Chronicle picked it up and ran with it 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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