Today in LGBT History – June 11

Yesterday Kelly and I participated in the LGBT Pride parade in Port Townsend, WA. While it was quite small – maybe 200 people (PT population 5000) – it was every bit as heartfelt and exciting and powerful as the national marches I’ve attended. Many people, straight and LGBT together, celebrated the rights and freedoms that we have in Port Townsend and in Washington State with love and with pride. As I walked, I reflected on years past…

Today’s history post has an item about Emily Dickinson that touched me deeply many years ago. Just a couple of years after I had come out, I’d read Katharine Forrest’s book “Curious Wine” which included the poem called Hunger by Emily Dickinson from which the words “curious wine” came. There is the first stanza of that poem:

I had been hungry all the years;

My noon had come, to dine; 

I, trembling, drew the table near, 

And touched the curious wine.

Many analysts believe that this is a poem about unfulfilled insatiable desires. It gives air to the writer’s desire for what she lacks and what others possess. The specific lack may not be not important; it could be anything. For me, the lack was my 20-year inability to come out as the lesbian I knew I was. As I read this poem for the first time in Forrest’s book, I had a tremendous epiphany! This poem was about my personal coming out! I had been hungry for the desire to be myself. And when that desire was realized, the women of my life appeared in all their glory! I find this poem to be sexual and sensual and courageous…which is my hope for every one of us! Whatever your desire, draw in that table and enjoy!

Today in LGBT History – June 11

1852 – Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. With the possible exception of Walt Whitman, Dickinson is recognized as the most important American poet of the 19th century. She wrote over 300 deeply affectionate letters, one dated on this day, to her sister-in-law Sue Gilbert. Emily sent much of her poetry to Susan for review, and indeed Susan may have been the inspiration for many of Emily’s poems. It’s clear from Emily’s letters that her love for Susan was deep and abiding. Some argue that it was a typical “romantic friendship” of the 19th century, full of flowery prose and innocence. But Emily’s letters are more than effusive expressions of affection; many letters are erotic in nature. And her feelings for Susan were hardly transient; the two women corresponded for many years without Emily’s passion fading.

1972, Canada – The first issue of “The Other Woman” is produced. The Other Woman (tow) is a feminist periodical that was published six times a year through the mid-1970s, starting in 1972. Produced by a Toronto-based collective, the newspaper covered a wide range of struggles and organizations of the women’s movement in Canada and internationally. It is a combination of several feminist newspapers with the predominant input from lesbian feminists.

June 11-13, 1976, Canada – In Kingston, Ontario, a convention of the New Democratic Party calls for the inclusion of sexual orientation in human rights codes. It is the first time a major Canadian political party accepts gay movement demands. 

2010 – Iceland’s Parliament approves same-sex marriage, 49-0. The bill providing for a gender-neutral marriage definition. Public opinion polls suggest that the bill is very popular in Iceland. Iceland became the ninth country in the world to have legalized same-sex marriage.

2011 – Transgender woman Evelyn Rios wins two Northern California EMMYs for being a producer for Daytime Newscast: ABC7 News at 11 AM and Evening Newscast at 11 PM. The awards are in the category of Outstanding Achievement in News Programming. Her first nominations were in 2007.

 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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