Today in LGBT History – July 4

As we wave flags, eat hot dogs, and blow up stuff, let’s remember that this is still not “the home of the free and land of the brave.” Well, brave, indeed… “Brave, courageous and bold,” as the song goes. It is the home of we resisters and persisters who believe in liberty and justice for ALL. The current administration will be gone and the deep damages it created will be repaired. But we must keep speaking out. Our silence, as Audre Lorde reminded us, will not protect us. Ring in liberty with your loud voices and visits to your legislators! The 2018 election is not far away…

 Today in LGBT History – July 4

1826 – Composer Stephen Foster is born in Pittsburgh. (July 4, 1826 – January 13, 1864). He is known as “the father of American music” primarily for his parlor and minstrel music. Foster wrote over 200 songs including “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“. It is possible that he abandoned his wife for fellow composer George Cooper. There are many biographers who have published works on the life of Stephen Collins Foster, but details can differ widely. In addition, Foster wrote very little biographical information himself. His brother Foster destroyed much of the information about Stephen that he judged to reflect negatively upon the family.

 1855 – The first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is published. It’s considered the clearest expression of the author’s homosexual desires.

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

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.

LGBT fact: Benjamin Franklin was the first U.S. military recruiter to enlist an openly gay man into the Revolutionary Army.

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, 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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