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 – JUNE 23
LGBTQ PRIDE: 50 Years since Stonewall
1629 – Five “Sodomitical Boys” are caught aboard a Puritan ship set for Salem, MA.
1882 – Dr. William Hammond delivers a paper to the American Neurological Association on a “disease” which makes males believe themselves to be females. As an example, he told of Native Americans who lived as the opposite sex.
1894 – Biologist and pioneer of human sexuality Alfred Kinseyis born. Alfred Charles Kinsey (June 23, 1894 – August 25, 1956) was an American biologist, professor of entomologyand zoology, and sexologist who in 1947 founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, now known as the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. He is best known for writing Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), also known as the Kinsey Reports, as well as the Kinsey scale. Kinsey’s research on human sexuality, foundational to the field of sexology, provoked controversy in the 1940s and 1950s. His work has influenced social and cultural values in the United States, as well as internationally.
1912, UK – British mathematician and computer pioneer, Alan Turing (June 23, 1912 – June 7, 1954) is born near London. Turing designed some of the world’s first computers during WWII, and during the early 1950’s further experimented with artificial intelligence. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. He played a pivotal role in cracking the German code that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements including the Battle of the Atlantic, and in so doing helped win the war. He was sentenced to a year of hormonal treatments causing impotence and breast development for “gross indecency with males.” Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts, when the Labouchere gross indecency Amendmentwas still criminal in the UK. He accepted chemical castration treatment with DESas an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon in 2013. The Alan Turing law is now an informal term for a 2017 law in the United Kingdom that retroactively pardoned men cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts.
1948, Denmark – The first Danish gay society, F-48, was founded by Axel Axgil. Soon after, a Norwegian and Swedish section under F-48 followed. F-48 was very successful and had 1,339 members in 1951. When Axgil stepped down as chairman in 1952 it had reached 2,600. Axel Axgil (April 3, 1915 – October 29, 2011) and Eigil Axgil (April 24, 1922 – September 22,1995) were Danish gay activists and a longtime couple. They were the first gay couple to enter into a registered partnership anywhere in the world following Denmark‘s legalization of same-sex partnership registration in 1989, a landmark law which they were instrumental in bringing about. They adopted the shared surname, Axgil, a combination of their given names, as an expression of their commitment.
1952 – Dale Jennings (October 21, 1917 – May 11, 2000), a founder of the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles, admits in court that he is a homosexual and accuses the officer who arrested him of entrapment. The jury deadlocked, and the case was dismissed. William Dale Jennings was an American LGBT rights activist, playwright and author. In November 1950, Jennings accompanied his then-boyfriend Bob Hull, to a meeting with Harry Hay(April 7, 1912 – October 24, 2002)and Chuck Rowland to discuss a prospectus that had called on the “androgynies of the world” to unite. This meeting began the first official meeting of the International Bachelors Fraternal Order for Peace and Social Dignity, which would later be renamed as the Mattachine Society. The society sought to gain acceptance through greater communication between homosexuals and heterosexuals. The group began to grow and by the summer of that year they had adopted official missions and purposes which proclaimed homosexuals to be one of the largest minorities in America.
1957 – Theater director John Tasker (25 May 1933 – 18 June 1988)writes to novelist Colin Spencer (born 1933) , “I was afraid to say–I want to be with you–because I really want to say, I love you.” They became lovers after they met in Brighton in 1957. Their off-and-on two-year relationship dramatically changed when Spencer married archaeologist Gillian Chapman in October, 1959. Tasker went to Australia where he became a theatre director, and died of cancer in 1988. Tasker had arranged for his letters to be returned to Spencer. Upon re-reading them, Spencer published his book Which of Us Two as a form of atonement.
1962 – The Mansfield, Ohio Gay Sex Sting Of 1962, happens. In the summer of 1962, the Mansfield, Ohio Police Department photographed men having sex in a public restroom under the main square of the city. A cameraman hid in a closet and watched the clandestine activities through a two-way mirror. The police filmed over a three-week period, and the resulting movie was used to obtain the convictions of over 38 local men on charges of sodomy. All of the 38 men were convicted of sodomy. They were publicly humiliated and found themselves ensnared by the state’s Ascherman Act, which ordered all felons deemed a danger to society to be institutionalized for a potentially indefinite period; all were required to serve the minimum sentence, even those judged by medical professionals to be “cured” prior to that time. Treatment then involved a number of now-discredited methods, including electroshock and various other aversion therapy techniques, and drugs with known severe side effects. After their release few recovered from the trauma and many were ostracized from families and friends and some committed suicide. It wasn’t until 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association struck homosexuality from its list of mental disorders; until that moment, the psychiatric profession had essentially lent its tacit endorsement to these laws and practices. The footage itself is chilling and stark. One must always remember that it was not only the fact that these men were having sex in a public bathroom that got them arrested. It was the fact that they were gay. The sex act on film was the evidence. With some of the footage the Mansfield Police even went so far to produce Camera Surveillance, an instructional film circulated in law enforcement circles. It showed how to set up a sting operation to film and arrest the criminal “sex deviants.” Shortly after these stings took place, the city of Mansfield bulldozed the men’s room and filled it in with concrete to remove the homosexual scourge.
1976 – The FBI acknowledges that it had been keeping files on the gay newsmagazine The Advocate.
1990, Prague – Activists organize SOHO, the country’s first national network of lesbian and gay organizations.
1994- The Gay Officers Action League of New York (GOAL) was founded by Charles Henry “Charlie” Cochrane, Jr. (August 5, 1943–May 5, 2008), a sergeant of the New York City Police Department, who after delivering a public testimony on anti gay discrimination legislation pending before the New York City Council, became the first openly gay officer of the NYPD. On this day GOAL creates and hosts the first International Conference Of Gay And Lesbian Criminal Justice Professionals. Held in New York City at the exclusive Merchants Club, it was the first time that GLBT law enforcement personnel from all over the world met to collectively address issues that they have in common and, in the spirit of unity, offer each other mutual support. The conference also included the premier of an exhibit in the lobby of the NYPD headquarters covering the history of LGBT professionals working within criminal justice arena. Carroll M. Hunter, a longtime pioneer in the equality movement serving LGBT criminal justice and law enforcement professionals, convened the conferenced. He had a distinguished career in law enforcement spanning over thirty years.
2000 – President Bill Clinton issues Executive Order 13160 prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in federally conducted education and training programs.
2001, Canada – John Herbert, (13 October 1926 – 23 June 2001), drag queen, pioneering gay playwright and “mordant gadfly” of the Canadian theatre scene in the 1960s and 70s, dies at his Toronto home. He was 74 and had been ill for a month after undergoing a biopsy for prostate cancer Herbert was best known as the author of Fortune and Men’s Eyes, his 1964 play that mercilessly exposed the homosexual reality of prison culture
2003 – The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down state laws that criminalize sodomy in Lawrence v. Texas. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court. The Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas in a 6-3 decision and, by extension, invalidated sodomy laws in 13 other states, making same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory. The Court, with a five-justice majority, overturned its previous ruling on the same issue in the 1986 case Bowers v. Hardwick, where it upheld a challenged Georgia statute and did not find a constitutional protection of sexual privacy.
2003 – The first U.S. memorial to solely honor lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Holocaust victims was dedicated in San Francisco. Pink Triangle Park is located near the heart of the city’s Castro district. The Pink Triangle Park is a triangular shaped mini-park located in the Castro District of San Francisco, California, at the intersection of 17th Street and Market Street, directly above the Castro Street Station of Muni Metro. It is the first permanent, free-standing memorial in America to the thousands of persecuted homosexuals in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust of World War II.
2005 – NBC announces that same-sex couples are eligible for “Today Throws a Hometown Wedding,” the popular series in which “Today” viewers plan and watch the wedding of the contest winners.
2005 – A Missouri high school promised the American Civil Liberties Union it will no longer censor students for wearing t-shirts supporting gay rights. According to the ACLU, Webb City High School students can freely enjoy their First Amendment rights.
Stand up, speak out, share your story!
(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at facebook.com/quistapp, Back2Stonewall.com, Lavender Effect, DataLounge.com, Arron’s Gay Info, All Things Queer, RS Levinson, Amara Das Wilhelm, out.com, Safe Schools Coalition, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)