Today in LGBT History – July 9

I was discussing the issue of family with someone recently. Families may be of origin or of choice, and may be a safe haven or a place of insanity. My friend Warren Blumenfeld wrote that “human diversity is a true gift as evidenced by the fact that that families come in a great variety of packages, with differing shapes and sizes, colors, and wrappings.” From all of my 12-step work, I have heard both love and horror stories about family. Whatever our definition of family, singers/songwriters, Ron Romanovsky and Paul Phillips, got it right when they said, “The definition’s plain for anyone to see. Love is all it takes to make a family.”

Today in LGBT History – July 9

1550, Italy – Jacopo Bonfadio  (c. 1508 – July 1550) is tried and beheaded for sodomy, most likely because he published gossipy accounts of wealthy Genoese families. was an Italian humanist and historian. Several humanists were tried for sodomy during this time, but Bonfadio is one of few to be executed. It appears that he was once accused of sleeping with a male student. His enemies used this incident against him later.

1775, London – Matthew Gregory Lewis (July 9, 1775 – May 16, 1818) is born. He was an English novelist and dramatist, often referred to as “Monk” Lewis because of the success of his 1796 Gothic novel, “Ambrosio, The Monk.” Lewis was the reigning monarch of the Gothic novel. Silly, stilted, and great fun to read, the genre was the high camp of its day. Like most Gothic novels, Ambrosio, The Monk takes place in a Latin country, in this case in a monastery where Ambrosio, the head of the order, meets Matilda. She sneaks into his bed disguised as a man and quickly reveals she is a woman. After humping him into a frenzy he turns into a satyr and can’t get enough. In real life, Lewis was in love with a 14 year old boy who brought him nothing but misery. 

1893 – Dorothy Thompson (July 9, 1893 – January 30, 1961) is born in Lancaster, New York. Thompson, a newspaper writer and radio commentator, was expelled from Germany by Hitler because of her critical reports on Nazism. Thompson fell in love with Baroness Hatvany, better known as Christa Winsloe, the author of “Madchen in Uniform” about girls in love in a boarding school. Another lover was Gertrude Franchot Tone, the feminist politician and mother of actor Franchot Tone. In 1939 she was recognized by Time magazine as the second most influential woman in America next to Eleanor Roosevelt, and was featured on its cover. She was married three times, most famously to second husband and Nobel Prize in literature winner Sinclair Lewis.

1965 – Courtney Love (born Courtney Michelle Harrison; July 9, 1964) is born. She’s an American singer, actress, writer, and visual artist. Prolific in the punk and grunge scenes of the 1990s, Love has enjoyed a career that spans four decades. Love has drawn public attention for her uninhibited live performances and confrontational lyrics, as well as her highly publicized personal life following her marriage to Kurt Cobain. Love has consistently advocated for LGBT rights, and identifies as a feminist. She has been noted as a gay icon since the mid-1990s, and has jokingly referred to her fan base as consisting of “females, gay guys, and a few advanced, evolved heterosexual men.”

1969 – The Mattachine Society of New York brings activists together in Greenwich Village for the first “gay power” meeting. Called the “Homosexual Liberation Meeting,” it was held at the Freedom House in Midtown Manhattan with over 100 attendees.

1986, New Zealand – The Parliament passes the Homosexual Law Reform Act, decriminalizing sex between men and establishing the same legal provisions for all sexual relations.

2008, Croatia –  The Croatian parliament approves new law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in all areas.

LGBT Fact: The first “notorious” gay bar in San Francisco was The Dash, which opened in 1908 at 547 Pacific. San Francisco may have had gay bars before The Dash but none were as notorious. The bar featured cross-dressing waiters who would perform sex acts in nearby booths for a $1, a huge sum back in those days. It was shut down by the vice squad almost as soon as it opened after a high-profile judge was linked to bar, leading to a reform movement that helped shut down the infamously sexually liberal Barbary Coast district.

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, 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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