Today in LGBT History – MARCH 23

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 23

1555, Italy – Pope Julius III (10 September 1487 – 23 March 1555) dies. He ruled from 1550 to 1555. Famous as “a skilled expert in canon law” and a patron of the arts, Julius also “created one of the most notorious homosexual scandals in the history of the papacy.” While still Cardinal Giovanni Maria del Monte, the pontiff fell in love with a 15-year old named Innocenzo. Two years later del Monte, now Pope, made Innocenzo a cardinal and his “chief diplomatic and political agent.” 

1874, Germany – J. C. Leyendecker (March23,1974 – July 25,1951) is born. He was one of the preeminent American illustrators of the early 20th century. He is best known for his poster, book and advertising illustrations, the trade character known as The Arrow Collar Man, and his numerous covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Between 1896 and 1950, Leyendecker painted more than 400 magazine covers. During the Golden Age of American Illustration, for The Saturday Evening Post alone, J. C. Leyendecker produced 322 covers, as well as many advertisement illustrations for its interior pages. No other artist, until the arrival of Norman Rockwell two decades later, was so solidly identified with one publication. Leyendecker “virtually invented the whole idea of modern magazine design. Leyendecker never married, and lived with Charles Beach  (1886 – 1952)for much of his adult life. Beach is assumed to have been his lover and who was the original model of the famous Arrow Collar Man.

1903, Morocco – A letter from Frances Hodgkin(28 April 1869 – 13 May 1947) to Dorothy Kate Richmond (12 September 1861 – 16 April 1935) begging her to join her in Morocco was written on this day. The two New Zealand painters were travel partners and lived together in Wellington. Hodgkins was a painter chiefly of landscape and still life, and for a short period was a designer of textiles. She was born in New Zealand, but spent most of her working life in Britain. She is considered one of New Zealand’s most prestigious and influential painters, although it is the work from her life in Europe, rather than her home country, on which her reputation rests. Richmond was a New Zealandpainternoted for her watercolour paintings of natural plants and animals and panoramic landscapes.

1950 – Terrance “Terry” Sweeney (born March 23, 1950) is an American writer, comedian and actor. He was SNL’s first openly gay male cast member and was “out” prior to being hired as a cast member. Sweeney’s run on the show came at a time when there were few openly gay characters or actors on television. For roughly 27 years, there were no other openly gay cast members on SNL until Kate McKinnon(born January 6, 1984), a former cast member of Logo’s The Big Gay Sketch Show, was added to the cast in April 2012. Terry Sweeney’s partner is Lanier Laney (born 03/18/1956), a comedy writer who also wrote for SNL in the 1985–1986 season.

1971 – Frank Kameny  (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011)is the first openly gay person to run for a U.S. Congressional seat, representing Washington D.C. He looses the election.  Kameny was an American gay rights activist and referred to as “one of the most significant figures” in the American gay rights movement. In 1957, Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the U.S. Army‘s Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. because of his homosexuality, leading him to begin “a Herculean struggle with the American establishment” that would “spearhead a new period of militancy in the homosexual rights movement of the early 1960s”. Kameny formally appealed his firing by the U.S. Civil Service Commission due to homosexuality. Although unsuccessful, the proceeding was notable as the first known civil rights claim based on sexual orientationpursued in a U.S. court.

1988, Israel  – Israel decriminalizes same-sex acts between consenting adults.

1995 – Threatened with an economic boycott and faced with strong opposition from state and national lesbian and gay activists, the Montana Senate unanimously votes to delete same-sex acts from a list of crimes for which convicts have to register with local authorities.

2004 – President Bush’s proposed ban on same-sex marriage is denounced by Coretta Scott King (April 27, 1927 – January 30, 2006) who was an American author, activistCivil Rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr

2005, St. Kitts and Nevis  – The Windjammer Barefoot Cruise ship with 110 gay men is not allowed to dock on the island. Officials stated that they don’t want homosexuality to be part of their culture.

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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