Today in LGBT History – June 8

June is Pride month, a time during which I always reflect on my life’s journey. Two weeks ago, Kelly and I went to hear Holly Near in concert in Port Townsend. Holly Near was the first “women’s music” singer I had heard. I came out in early 1979 and attended a NOW national conference with some friends from Orlando. Holly came onto the stage an sang “Imagine My Surprise” and “The Woman in Your Life.” I heard the words that described who and how I was as a newly out lesbian, and I imprinted! I’ve seen Holly a number of times since that day in 1979 and have nearly all of her recordings. Holly Near’s voice and music have been the touchstone of my story, and I was excited to hear her in Port Townsend, to share that musical moment with my wife. Her music is about speaking truth to power, about understanding how we as individuals and as collectives can change the world, indeed about how we have the responsibility to do so. As Holly sings, “lift me up to the light of change” because “I am willing.”

The National LGBT March on Washington is this coming weekend. If you can’t get there, look for a sister march in your area. Kelly and I are marching in Port Townsend. Perhaps we’ll see you there…

 Today in LGBT History – June 8

1901, Spain — The first documented same-sex marriage in Spain in post-Roman times is performed. Marcela Gracia Ibeas and Elisa Sanchez Loriga, both teachers, are married by a parish priest in A Coruña (Galicia), with Elisa using the male identity “Mario Sánchez”. The couple was exposed by Galician and Madrid newspapers and, as a consequence of this, both quickly lost their jobs, were excommunicated, and were issued an arrest warrant. So that the excommunication could take place, the parish priest requested a doctor examine Mario to check if he were a man or a woman. Mario agreed. When the doctor issued his verdict, Mario attempted to pass for a hermaphrodite (intersex) whose condition had been diagnosed in London. Regardless, the marriage certificate was never officially voided. The marriage, according to the Diocesan Archive, is still valid, They moved to Portugal where they were imprisoned, tried, and later released. It is rumored that they fled to Argentina after the Spanish government demanded their extradition from Portugal. It is unknown what happened to them after that. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Spain in 2005

 1975, Canada – Members of the gay rights group GATE appear before a Parliamentary Committee on Immigration in Toronto and call for dropping of all references to homosexuality in the Immigration Act. On November 6, a “Special Joint Committee on Immigration Policy recommends that homosexuals no longer be prohibited from entering Canada. In 1977, the Canadian Immigration Act was amended, removing the ban on homosexual men as immigrants.

Happy Pride Month!




(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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