Today in LGBT History – MARCH 21

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 21

1804, France – Napoleonic Code went into effect, one of the earliest codes to permit same-sex activity

1962, South Africa – Abdurrazack “Zackie” Achmat (born 21 March 1962) is a South African activist and film director. He is a co-founder the Treatment Action Campaign and known worldwide for his activism on behalf of people living with HIV and AIDS in South Africa. He currently serves as Board member and Co-director of Ndifuna Ukwazi (Dare to Know), an organization which aims to build and support social justice organizations and leaders, and is the Chairperson of Equal Education. Achmat co-founded the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality in 1994, and as its director he ensured protections for gaysand lesbians in the new South African Constitution, and facilitated the prosecution of cases that led to the decriminalization of sodomyand granting of equal status to same-sex partners in the immigration process. Achmat was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1990. In 2005 he suffered a heart attackwhich his doctor said was unlikely to be caused by his HIV-positive status or treatment. He recovered sufficiently to return to his activism work.On 5 January 2008, Achmat married his same-sex partner and fellow activist Dalli Weyers at a ceremony in the Cape Town suburb of Lakeside. The ceremony was attended by then Mayor Helen Zille and presided over by Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Edwin Cameron. The couple divorced amicably in June 2011.

 1962 – Rosie O’Donnell (born March 21, 1962))is born. She is an American comedian, actress, author, and television personality. She has been a magazine editor and continues to be a celebrity blogger, a lesbian rights activist, a television producer, and a collaborative partner in theLGBTfamily vacation company, R Family Vacations.

 1975, Canada – Former jockey John Damien (1933 – 1986)sues Ontario Racing Commission and individuals involved in his firing as a racing steward. Damien’s suit filed in Ontario Supreme Court alleged he was fired because he was gay.In 1986, the first legal action, a suit of wrongful dismissal against the Commission, was settled in Damien’s favour; he was awarded one year’s wages plus interest, a total of about $50,000. By this time Damien was in poor health, and he died of pancreatic cancer.

1987, Finland – Pekka Haavisto (born 23 March 1958), the first openly gay member of parliament, takes office. He is a Finnish politician and minister representing the Green League. He returned to the Finnish Parliament in the Finnish parliamentary election of March 2007 after an absence of 12 years and was re-elected again in 2011. In October 2013 he was appointed as the Minister for International Development after Heidi Hautala resigned from the job. He has also been a member of the Helsinki City Council.

 1994 – Tom Hanks wins best actor Oscar for Philadelphia.The film was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDShomosexuality, and homophobia. It was written by Ron Nyswaner, directed by Jonathan Demme and stars Tom Hanksand Denzel Washington.

 2000 – The remains of Steen Keith Fenrich (1981 – September 9, 1999)are discovered. The gay African-American teen was tortured and murdered by his white, homophobic, racist stepfather who committed suicide.

2001 – Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) is founded by David Jay. AVEN hosts the world’s largest online asexual community as well as a large archive of resources on asexuality. AVEN strives to create open, honest discussion about asexuality among sexual and asexual people alike. An asexual person does not experience sexual attraction – they are not drawn to people sexually and do not desire to act upon attraction to others in a sexual way. Unlike celibacy, which is a choice to abstain from sexual activity, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who a people is.

2007 – First national Native AIDS Awareness Day. National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is observed each year on the first days of Spring. This day is an opportunity for people across the United States to learn about HIV/AIDS, the need for HIV testing among Native Americans, and ways that everyone can help decrease the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS in their own communities.

2018 – San Francisco renames Terminal 1 at the San Francisco International Airport after slain LGBT supervisor Harvey Milk and installs artwork memorializing the civil rights icon. The name change was first introduced in 2013 by then-Supervisor David Campos who had initially hoped to name the entire airport after Milk but the proposal met with opposition. Instead, an airport naming committee was established, which recently recommended naming SFO’s Terminal 1 after Milk who was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1977. He served in the post until he was gunned down at City Hall in 1978 along with Mayor George Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White.

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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