Today in LGBT History – March 9

Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.   —Brene Brown

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

Today in LGBT History – March 9

1892, UK – Vita Sackville-West,  Lady Nicolson, (9 March 1892 – 2 June 1962) is born in Knole, England. She was an English poet, novelist, and garden designer. The lesbian writer married gay diplomat Harold Nicolson (21 November 1886 – 1 May 1968) . The story of her passionate but disastrous affair with Violet Trefusis is beautifully told in “Portrait of a Marriage” by her son Nigel Nicolson. She was the inspiration for the androgynous protagonist of Orlando: A Biography, by her famous friend and lover, Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941). Vita was more deeply involved with author Violet Keppel (6 June 1894 – 29 February 1972). The sexual relationship began when they were both in their teens and strongly influenced them for years. Both later married and became writers.  In 1927 Sackville-West had an affair with Mary Garman (1898–1979), a member of the Bloomsbury Group and between 1929 and 1931 with Hilda Matheson (June 7, 1888 – October 30, 1940), head of the BBC Talks Department. In 1931, Sackville-West was in a ménage à trois with journalist Evelyn Irons (17 June 1900 – 3 April 2000) and Irons’s lover, Olive Rinder. Sackville-West is remembered for the celebrated garden at Sissinghurst created with her husband, Sir Harold Nicolson.

1947 – Carrie Chapman Catt (Jan. 9, 1859-March 9, 1947) dies. She was an American women’s suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave American women the right to vote in 1920. Catt was the founder of the League of Women Voters and the International Alliance of Women. She was one of the best-known women in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. For over twenty years she lived with fellow suffragist, Mary Garrett Hay (August 29, 1857- August 29, 1928). On March 9, 1947, Catt died of a heart attack in her home in New Rochelle, New York. She was buried alongside her longtime partner, Hay, at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City.

1969 – Los Angeles police savagely beat a gay man to death during the Dover Hotel raid. The Dover operated as an early version of the soon-to-become-popular bathhouse scene. It was also the scene of a number of raids by LAPD’s vice squad for the easy bust of “faggots.” During a raid by the LAPD Vice Squad on March 9, 1969, four months prior to the Stonewall riots in New York City, Howard Efland, a male nurse checked into the hotel under the pseudonym of J. McCann. By the end of that day Efland would be brutally beaten outside the hotel by police in front of numerous witnesses. Though several witnesses claimed that Efland died at the scene, arresting officers Chauncy and Halligan said Elfland was alive then claimed that halfway to the station from where they had arrested him, he kicked open the door and fell out onto the Hollywood Freeway. No one was ever held accountable for the murder of Howard Efland. On March 2, 2016, Back2Stonewall’s Will Kohler talked with LAPD’s  Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Liaison in the Community Relations Department who promised to look into the Efland case after 46 years.

1989 – Noted gay artist Robert Mapplethorpe (November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) dies of AIDS in Boston at the age of 42. Mapplethorpe’s work is later at the center of a major arts funding controversy in the United States. He was an American photographer, known for his sensitive yet blunt treatment of controversial subject-matter in the large-scale, highly stylized black and white medium of photography. His work featured an array of subjects, including celebrity portraits, male and female nudes, self-portraits and still-life images of flowers. His most controversial work is that of the underground BDSM scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s of New York City. The homoeroticism of this work fuelled a national debate over the public funding of controversial artwork.

2004 – Asbury Park, New Jersey, begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples but they’re later nullified because they were illegally issued.

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(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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