Today in LGBT History – June 17

Orcas floated by our house yesterday as they swam into Discovery Bay. They are such a rare sighting and we were thrilled!

Our meditation reading this morning was about Pride, commemorating LGBT Pride Month. The author wrote that Pride isn’t about acclaims and glory but about the “declaration of personal self-acceptance.” For me, that means honoring, loving, and accepting who I am in this moment. I accept that I am a 70 year old woman, married to a woman with whom I share a deep love for one another and for our life together, a mother and grandmother, a sister and daughter and aunt, a retiree from higher education with a gang-full of wonderful former students who still keep in touch, a writer, an adventurer, and a good and decent human being (most of the time). It is all of these that make up who I am today, and that bring me to that quiet, gentle “personal self-acceptance.” During this Pride month, I invite you to join me in declaring your own “personal self-acceptance.”

Today in LGBT History – June 17

1883, Finland – Mauritz Stiller (July 17, 1883 – November 16, 1928) is born. He was a gay Finnish-Swedish film director, best known for discovering Greta Garbo and bringing her to America. Stiller had been a pioneer of the Swedish film industry, writing and directing many short films from 1912. When MGM invited him to Hollywood as a director, he arrived with his new discovery Greta Gustafsson, whose screen name Greta Garbo is believed to have been his suggestion.

1943 – Barry Manilow (born Barry Alan Pincus; June 17, 1943) is born. He is an American singer-songwriter, arranger, musician, and producer with a career that has spanned over 50 years. He is best known for recordings such as “Mandy“, “Can’t Smile Without You“, and “Copacabana (At the Copa).” Before Manilow’s well-known association with Bette Midler began at the Continental Baths in New York City in 1971, he recorded four tracks as Featherbed, leading a group of session musicians produced by Tony Orlando. As Manilow accompanied artists on the piano for auditions and performances in the first two years of the 1970s, Midler caught his act in 1971 and chose the young arranger to assist her with the production of both her debut and sophomore releases The Divine Miss M (1972) and Bette Midler (1973). Manilow worked with Midler from 1971 to 1975. In 1978, Manilow began a relationship with TV executive Garry Kief, who soon became his manager, and the two married in 2014, after same-sex marriage became legal in California. They kept the relationship and his sexual orientation secret, until the marriage made headlines in 2015. Manilow officially came out as gay in April 2017, telling People that he had kept his sexual orientation quiet out of concern that it would disappoint his largely female fan base, but when his fans learned of the marriage, they were supportive.

1959 – On this date a London court awards pianist Liberace (May 16, 1919 – February 4, 1987) $22,400 in damages against the “London Daily Mirror” for implying that the flamboyant entertainer was a homosexual. Throughout his life, Liberace publicly denied he was gay. In Britain at the time, where he was popular enough to enjoy sell-out tours and be mobbed wherever he went, homosexuality was illegal.

1968 – The documentary The Queen is released. It’s about a behind-the-scenes drag queen competition in New York City, directed by Frank Simon.

1977 – Vice President Walter Mondale angrily leaves a San Francisco Democratic fund raising event when his speech on human rights in South America was interrupted by a man who demanded to know when he would speak in favor of gay rights. Members of the newly formed San Francisco Gay Democratic Club held up signs demanding a statement on human rights in the United States. The club was created by Harvey Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978).

1981 – Sen. Roger Jepson (R-IA) introduces the Family Protection Act in Congress. It specified that anyone who was homosexual or openly supportive of homosexuals could not receive student aid, social security, or veterans benefits; and regulated what public school textbooks could say about human sexuality. It never passed, and Jepson lost his bid for re-election when it was revealed he had a membership at a brothel.

2006 – An estimated 2.4 million people take to the streets of Sao Paulo to celebrate the Brazilian city’s 10th annual Gay Pride parade. The record attendance, the largest in the world, was 1.8 million.

2008 – All-American University of Missouri diver Greg DeStephen comes out on In May of his sophomore year, DeStephen read a story on about Maryland-Baltimore County swimmer Fred Deal announcing he was gay. DeStephen sent the website an email that he liked the Deal story and that he was a gay diver himself. The site responded asking if it could tell his story — the gay All-American diver in the heartland.

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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