Today in LGBT History – MAY 1

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 – MAY 1

1915, UK – Laurence Michael Dillon (May 1, 1915 – May 15, 1962) was a British physician and the first trans man to undergo phalloplasty. In 1946 Dillon published Self: A Study in Endocrinology and Ethics, a book about what would now be called transgender though that term had not been coined yet. He described “masculine inverts” as being born with “the mental outlook and temperament of the other sex,” using Stephen Gordon in the novel The Well of Loneliness as an example. Self brought him to the attention of Roberta Cowell , who would become the first British trans woman to receive male-to-female sex reassignment surgery. Though Dillon was not yet a licensed physician, he himself performed an orchidectomy on Cowell, since British law made the operation illegal. Cowell’s vaginoplasty was later performed by pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies.

 1960 – Andy Thayer (Born May 1, 1960) is an American socialist, LGBTQ rights and anti-war activist. He is co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, one of the largest LGBTQ direction-action groups in Chicago. He is also the co-founder of Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism.Thayer founded the Gay Liberation Network in September 1998 under the original name “Chicago Anti-Bashing Network” which was changed to the Gay Liberation Network in 2004. The group is one of the largest and most-active LGBTQ direct-action groups in the area of Chicago. Thayer is openly gay and currently lives in Chicago in the Uptown neighborhood. Thayer got engaged in November 2013 and married in the summer of 2014. Thayer is also an atheist.

1970 – At the Second Congress to Unite Women in New York City, lesbian feminists stage the Lavender Menace action in protest of lesbophobia in the women’s movement and particularly in the National Organization for Women. Lavender Menace members included Karla JayMartha ShelleyRita Mae Brown, Lois Hart, Barbara LoveEllen Shumsky, Artemis March, Cynthia Funk, and Michela Griffo, and were mostly members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the National Organization for Women (NOW).

1972 – On this day John Waters’ outrageous movie Pink Flamingos opens in theaters.Written, produced, filmed, and edited by John Waters. It is part of what Waters has labelled the “Trash Trilogy”, which also includes Female Trouble (1974) and Desperate Living (1977). The film stars the countercultural drag queen Divine (the late Glen Milstead) as a criminal living under the name of Babs Johnson, “the filthiest person alive”Waters had plans for a sequel, titled Flamingos ForeverTroma Entertainment offered to finance the picture, but it was never made, as Divine refused to be involved, and in 1984, Edith Massey died.When the film was initially released, it caused a huge degree of controversy due to the wide range of “perverse” acts performed in explicit detail. It has since become one of the most notorious films ever made and is rated as #29 on the list of 50 Films to See Before You Die.

1974, Portugal – Gay activists march in Oporto for the first time, demanding an end to the country’s sodomy laws and a repeal of all statutes that discriminate against gays and lesbians, following the overthrow of the long installed Salazar regime.

1974 – Studio One disco opens in West Hollywood, CA.  Started in an old World War II-era bomb-sight manufacturing building, Studio One has a long history that played a big part in the lives, politics and gay rights movement. Don Kilhefner wrote: For most gay men living outside West Hollywood, it represented bigotry, racism and sexism. Scott Forbes, its owner, wanted to limit the number of gay men of color and women. His doormen used every racist excuse possible to keep black gay men out, requiring two or three pieces of photo ID from African Americans and none or one piece from white men. To limit the number of women, excuses were made up on the spot based on what they were wearing, like no open-toe shoes. Rather than being a beacon of pride, countless gay community protests were held there. For most conscious gay and lesbian people of that period, Studio One stood for racist discrimination and white male privilege.

1975 – Maine Legislators decriminalize homosexuality between consenting adults by repealing its sodomy laws. It also lowers the age of consent to 14.

1975 – Published reports confirm that Paul Newman is having financing trouble with his attempt to bring The Front Runner,  a 1974 novel by Patricia Nell Warren, to the big screen. Newman eventually allows his option to lapse. The book is considered now to be a classic of LGBT literature.

1976 – Christopher Street magazine, a gay-oriented magazine published in New York City, debuts.  Known both for its serious discussion of issues within the gay community and its satire of anti-gay criticism, it was one of the two most-widely read gay-issues publications in the U.S.  Christopher Street covered politics and culture and its aim was to become a gay New Yorker.  Christopher Street printed 231 issues before closing its doors in December 1995.

1977 – Wyoming decriminalizes private consensual adult homosexual acts. 

1982 – The journal Scientific American publishes an ad from the Lesbian and Gay Associated Engineers and Scientists. Science News journal refuses to run the ad. 

1984 – Advocate Men magazine debuts.

1986 – Lesbian Ann Bancroft (born September 29, 1955) is an author, teacher, and adventurer. On this day, she becomes the first woman to reach the North Pole by dogsled. The trip, which started from Ellesmere Island, took her two months. She was also the first woman to cross both polar ice caps to reach the North and South Poles, as well as the first woman to ski across Greenland. In 1993 Bancroft led a four-woman expedition to the South Pole on skis, the first all-female expedition to cross the ice to the South Pole. In 2001, Ann and Norwegian adventurer Liv Arnesen (born June 1, 1953) became the first women to ski across Antarctica. Ann currently co-owns an exploration company, Bancroft Arnesen Explore, with Liv Arnesen. Bancroft is openly gay and in 2006, she publicly campaigned against a proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution to prohibit any legal recognition of marriages or civil unions between members of the same sex.

2002, Colombia – A grenade is thrown at home of gay politician Manuel Antonio Velandia.

2013, Samoa – Samoa’s Sodomy Crimes Act goes into effect with a sentence of up to five years in prison. “Keeping a place of homosexual resort” is also a crime.

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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