Today in LGBT History – March 31

Respect for human life, liberty, and well-being must be enshrined as rights beyond the power of any force to diminish. — Nelson Mandela

Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – March 31

1940 – Barney Frank (born March 31, 1940) is born. A United States Congressman since 1980, Frank was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the world. He is a former American politician and board member of the New York-based Signature Bank. He previously served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013. As a member of the Democratic Party, he served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee (2007–2011) and was a leading co-sponsor of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act, a sweeping reform of the U.S. financial industry. Frank, a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, is considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States. On July 7, 2012, Frank married Jim Ready, his longtime partner, at the Boston Marriott Newton in suburban Boston.

1961 – Suzanne Westenhoefer (born March 31, 1961 in Columbia, Pennsylvania) is an out lesbian stand-up comedian. After accepting a dare, she began her career delivering gay-themed material to straight audiences in mainstream comedy clubs in New York City in the early 1990s. She became the first openly lesbian comic to appear on television in 1991 on an episode of Sally Jesse Raphael entitled “Breaking the Lesbian Stereotype…Lesbians Who Don’t Look Like Lesbians.” In 1991 and 1992, her stand-up comedy appeared on Comedy Central‘s Short Attention Span Theater and Stand-up Stand-up. She went on to become the first openly gay comic to host her own HBO Comedy Special in 1994, which earned her a Cable Ace Award nomination, and to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2003.  In 2004 she was featured in the Andrea Meyerson film Laughing Matters along with Kate Clinton (born November 9, 1947), Marga Gomez and Karen Williams.

1964, Canada – Ed Northe founds the Imperial Court of Canada, a monarchist society comprised primarily of drag personalities,  and becomes a driving force in the effort to achieve equality in Canada. The Court of Canada now has at least 14 chapters across the country and is the oldest, continuously running GLBT Organization in Canada.

1997, UK – Premiere of the Teletubbies. The first is Tinky Winky with his purple color, his triangle icon, and his purse, causing some to claim that Tinky is a gay role model. Jerry Falwell, leader of the Morsal Majority, publically denounces Tinky in 1999.

2014, Canada – Model and activist Geena Rocero (born 1983) comes out as transgender during her TED talk filmed in Vancouver on the Transgender Day of Visibility. She is a Filipino American supermodelTED speaker, and transgender advocate based in New York City. Rocero is the founder of Gender Proud, an advocacy and aid organization that stands up for the right of transgender people worldwide to “self-identify with the fewest possible barriers”.

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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