Today in LGBT History – June 23

Last night Sarah Schulman gave a talk at the AIDS Memorial. It was entitled LET THE RECORD SHOW: LOSING THE TRUE HISTORY OF AIDS. It’s a long powerful, heartfelt, heart-rendering talk. Find it on her Facebook page by clicking here and read it. Her last line is “What we are losing is the true history of AIDS, and for this reason, we are losing our contemporary reality. LET THE RECORD SHOW.”

We must not allow our history to be lost! And that’s why we write….

 Today in LGBT History – June 23

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 Kinsey is born. Alfred Charles Kinsey (June 23, 1894 – August 25, 1956) was an American biologist, professor of entomology and 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 – British mathematician and computer pioneer, Alan Turing (June 23, 1912 – June 7, 1954) is born near London. Turning 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. Turing played a pivotal role in cracking the German 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. Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts, when by the Labouchere Amendment, “gross indecency” was still criminal in the UK. He accepted chemical castration treatment, with DES, as 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 (April 3, 1915 – October 29,  2011). 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 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 legalisation of same-sex partnership registration in 1989, a landmark legislation 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 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 – John Tasker writes to novelist Colin Spencer, “I was afraid to say–I want to be with you–because I really want to say, I love you.” John Tasker was at one time the lover of the English author, journalist, and broadcaster Colin Spencer. They met in Brighton in 1957, when both were 24 years old. 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.

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, 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. Texas539 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.

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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