Today in LGBT History – MARCH 18

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 – MARCH 18

1308, France – Philip IV of Franceorders the arrest of all Knights Templarson charges of heresy, idolatry and sodomy, but these charges are only a pretext to seize the riches of the order. Order leaders are sentenced to death and burned at the stake on March 18, 1314, including Jacques de Molay (1243 – 18 March 1314)who was found guilty of homosexuality. Though little is known ofde Molay’s actual life and deeds except for his last years as Grand Master, he is one of the best known Templars.

1796 – The State of New Jersey adopted a statute that reduced the penalty for same-sex intercourse from death to a fine and a maximum of 21 years of solitary imprisonment with hard labor. This is the first sodomy law in the United States of America to use the term “crime against nature.”

1886 – Actor Edward Everett Horton(March 18, 1886 – September 29, 1970)is born in Brooklyn. He  was an American character actorwith a long career in film, theater, radio, television, and voice work for animated cartoons.It’s impossible to think of the comedies of the ’20s, ’30s, or ’40s without recollecting the lanky Nervous Nellie characters he portrayed. A whole new generation discovered him in the ’70’s and ’80s as the voice in Fractured Fairy Tales on the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show. Horton’s companion for many years was actor Gavin Gordon(April 7, 1901 – April 7, 1983), who was 15 years his junior. They both appeared (but shared noscenes) in only one film, Pocketful of Miracles (1961). They also appeared together in at least one play, a 1931 production of Noël Coward‘s Private Lives.

1922, Germany – Magnus Hirschfeld’s (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935)petition for the repeal of Paragraph 175 is presented to the Reichstag. Although 6,000 people had signed the petition, including Sigmund Freud, the late Leo Tolstoy, and Albert Einstein, it fails to persuade German lawmakers to decriminalize sex between men.

1971 – Idaho decriminalizes “gay” sex acts between consenting adults. However, before the law can take effect, in response to pressure from conservative groups, Iowa reverses itself and keeps the felony statute on the books. 

1975, Canada – Warren Zufelt (1879 – March 18, 1968), one of eighteen men arrested in an Ottawa “sex scandal,” commits suicide by jumping from his apartment building balcony after his name was published in local newspapers. 

The effect of Warren Zufelt’s death was to create an atmosphere of shock in both the gay and the straight communities in Ottawa. All charges against the men were proved false, and they all were dismissed in 1976.

1982 – Police raid a Washington, D.C. male escort service called “Friendly Models” and cart away more than a dozen boxes of business records, including the names and addresses of several hundred of the service’s clients.

1990 – OutWeekouts Malcolm Forbes (19 August 1919 – 24 February 1990). He was an American entrepreneur most prominently known as the publisher of Forbesmagazine, founded by his father B. C. Forbes. He was known as an avid promoter of capitalism and free market trade, and for an extravagant lifestyle, spending on parties, travel, and his collection of homes, yachts, aircraft, art, motorcycles, and Fabergé eggs. In March 1990, soon after his death, OutWeek magazine published a story with the cover headline “The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes,” by Michelangelo Signorile, which outed Forbes as a gay man. Signorile was critical of the media for helping Forbes publicize many aspects of his life while keeping his homosexuality a secret. The writer asked, “Is our society so overwhelmingly repressive that even individuals as all-powerful as the late Malcolm Forbes feel they absolutely cannot come out of the closet?”[ Even in death, the media was reluctant to disclose his sexuality. Trump stated that Forbes “lived openly as a homosexual… but expected the media and his famous friends to cover for him.”

1996 – Hellene Harrington “Muffin” Spencer-Devlinwas born Oct. 25, 1953, in Piqua, Ohio. Sheis the first LPGA pro to come out.

Stand up, speak out, share your story!




(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at,, Lavender Effect,, Arron’s Gay Info, All Things Queer, RS Levinson, Amara Das Wilhelm,, Safe Schools Coalition, 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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