Today in LGBT History – MAY 12

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 12

1812 – Edward Lear (12 May 1812–29 January 1888) was an English artist, illustrator, musician, author and poet, and is known now mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularized. His principal areas of work as an artist were threefold: as a draughtsman employed to illustrate birds and animals; making colored drawings during his journeys, which he reworked later, sometimes as plates for his travel books; as a (minor) illustrator of Alfred, Lord Tennyson‘s poems. As an author, he is known principally for his popular nonsense collections of poems, songs, short stories, botanical drawings, recipes, and alphabets. He also composed and published twelve musical settings of Tennyson’s poetry. Lear’s most fervent and painful friendship was with Franklin Lushington. He met the young barrister in Malta in 1849 and then toured southern Greece with him. Lear developed an infatuation for him that Lushington did not wholly reciprocate. Although they remained friends for almost forty years, until Lear’s death, the disparity of their feelings constantly tormented Lear. Indeed, Lear’s attempts at male companionship were not always successful; the very intensity of Lear’s affections may have doomed these relationships.

1820, Italy – Florence Nightingale (12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910)is born in Florence, Italy. She is the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by her during the Crimean War, where she organized the tending to wounded soldiers.She gave nursing a highly favorable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of “The Lady with the Lamp” making rounds of wounded soldiers at night. She often referred to herself in the masculine, as for example “a man of action” and “a man of business” and wrote about having romantic/erotic relationships with women.

1937, Luxembourg – Heinz Neddermeyer (April 20,1914-1984), the first great lover of Christopher Isherwood (26 August 1904 – 4 January 1986), is expelled from Luxembourg. The couple lived together in Berlin until they were forced to flee due to the rise of the Nazis. The day after he was expelled from Luxembourg, Heinz was arrested by the Gestapo. He was sentenced to three and a half years of forced labor and military service. He survived the forced labor and was conditionally free if he married. He married a woman named Gerda in 1938 and had a son named Christian, his only child, in 1940. He died in 1984.

1940 – Joan Nestle (born May 12, 1940) is a Lambda Award winning writer and editor and a founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, which holds, among other things, everything she has ever written. She is openly lesbian and sees her work of archiving history as critical to her identity as “a woman, as a lesbian, and as a Jew”. After the Stonewall riots in 1969, gay liberationbecame a focus of her activism. She joined the Lesbian Liberation Committee in 1971 and helped found the Gay Academic Union (GAU) in 1972. The following year, she and other members of the GAU began to gather and preserve documents and artifacts related to lesbian history. This project became the Lesbian Herstory Archives, which opened in 1974 in the pantry of the apartment she shared with her then-partner Deborah Edel, and later with her family friend Mabel Hampton(May 2, 1902 – October 26, 1989), then moved it to a brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn in 1992. Today its holdings include more than 20,000 books, 12,000 photographs, and 1,600 periodical titles.

1960, UK – The first public meeting of the Homosexual Law Reform Society is attended by more than 1,000 people.

1975 – Robert Reed (October 19, 1932 – May 12, 1992), best known as Mike Brady on the sitcom The Brady Bunch, dies of AIDS-related causes. Reed was gay but kept this fact private, choosing to marry a woman instead. He feared news of his sexual orientation would damage his career. In July 1954, Reed married fellow Northwestern student Marilyn Rosenberger. The couple had one daughter, Karen, before divorcing in 1959.Shortly before his death, Reed appeared in the touring production of Love Letters, opposite Betsy Palmer and taught classes onShakespeareatUCLA. He died on May 12, 1992 at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California, at age 59.

1982, Canada –  Police once again raid The Body Politic, the country’s leading gay and lesbian newspaper, on charges of publishing allegedly obscene material.

1999 – William Daro “Billy” Bean (born March 29, 1962), former outfielder and left-handed hitter for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres, becomes the second baseball player to publicly come out, three years after his retirement. As a closeted pro athlete, he struggled to juggle his secret and his career. He divorced his wife in 1993 and secretly moved in with his first lover. When his lover died of AIDS, Bean didn’t attend the funeral because he was too frightened that his secret would be revealed. Since 2014, he has served as Major League Baseball’s first Ambassador for Inclusion. He is currently a real estate agent in Miami.  Glenn Burke (November 16, 1952 – May 30, 1995)was the first baseball player to come out to his teammates and employers during his playing days, though Burke did not come out to the public at large until his career was over. Burke died from AIDS-related causes in 1995.

2013, Israel – Israel’s Supreme Court allows same-sex parental rights with a court order only, without the lengthy adoption process.

2017 – Jon Penton-Robicheaux (1978 -May 12, 2017), the lead plaintiff in a case that challenged Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriages, dies at a New Orleans hospice of liver failure after a battle with bacterial meningitis. He was 39. “Though Jon was a very beloved figure in the gay community, he was low-key. He wasn’t a big publicity person at all. But he is definitely part of history now,” said Frank Perez, a tour guide and chronicler of the city’s gay history. His husband, Derek Penton-Robicheaux, was by his side. Together they founded the nonprofit called Louisiana Equality Foundation to further their gay-advocacy work.

2018 – Raquel Pennington (born September 5, 1988)faced Amanda Nunes (born May 30, 1988) on May 12, 2018 at UFC 224 in a UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championshipbout. Pennington lost the fight via TKO in the fifth round. This was the first event in UFC history to be headlined by two openly gay fighters. Nunesis a Brazilian mixed martial artist who currently fights for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) where she is the reigning champion in both the women’sBantamweightand Featherweight divisions.Pennington (born September 5, 1988) is an American mixed martial artist who competes in Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight division

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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