Today in LGBT History – MAY 14

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 14

1868, Germany – Magnus Hirschfeld (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935) is born. He was a German Jewishphysician and sexologist educated primarily in Germany though he based his practice in Berlin-Charlottenburg. An outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, the first group to advocate for homosexual and transgender rights.On his 67th birthday, May 14, 1935, Hirschfeld died of a heart attack in his apartment at the Gloria Mansions I building at 63 Promenade des Anglais in Nice.The German Society for Social-Scientific Sexuality Research established the Magnus Hirschfeld Medal in 1990. The Society awards the Medal in two categories, contributions to sexual research and contributions to sexual reform.

1881 – Julian Eltinge (May 14, 1881 – March 7, 1941), is born.  Hewas an Americanstageandscreenactor and female impersonator. After appearing in the Boston Cadets Revue at the age of ten in feminine garb, Eltinge made his first appearance on Broadway in 1904. As his star began to rise, he appeared in vaudeville and toured Europe and the United States, even giving a command performance before King Edward VII. Eltinge appeared in a series of musical comedies written specifically for his talents starting in 1910 with The Fascinating Widow, returning to vaudeville in 1918. In 1917 he appeared in his first feature filmThe Countess Charming. By the time Eltinge arrived in Hollywood, he was considered one of the highest paid actors on the American stage. Aside from the graceful femininity he exhibited onstage, Eltinge used a super-masculine facade in public to combat the rumors of his homosexuality. But with the arrival of the Great Depression and the death of vaudeville, Eltinge’s star began to fade. He continued his show in nightclubs but found little success. On February 25, 1941, Eltinge fell ill while performing at Billy Rose‘s Diamond Horseshoe nightclub. He was taken home and died in his apartment ten days later on March 7th. He leaves a legacy as one of the greatest female impersonators of the 20th century.

1897, Germany –  Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, the first gay rights organization, was formed in Berlin by Magnus Hirschfeld(14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935), to campaign for social recognition of gay, bisexual and transgender men and women, and to fight for the repeal of the anti-gay law called Paragraph 175 which allowed their legal persecution. It was the first LGBT rights organization in history.

1910, Germany – In Berlin, Magnus Hirschfeld (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935) publishes his ground-breaking study of gender variant people Die Transvestiten, a title which literally translates as ‘The Transvestites.’ The term is used by Hirschfeld to denote a much wider understanding of sexual and gender variation than the cross-dressing which the term often implies today.

1919, Germany –  In Berlin, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld(May, 14 1868 – May, 14 1935) co-founds the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft(Institute for Sex Research), a pioneering private research institute and counseling office. On July 20, 1932, the Chancellor Franz von Papen carried out a coup that deposed the Braun government in Prussia, and appointed himself the Reich commissioner for the state. A conservative Catholic who had long been a vocal critic of homosexuality, Papen ordered the Prussian police to start enforcing the anti-gay Paragraph 175 and to crack down in general on “sexual immorality” in Prussia. The Institut für Sexualwissenschaftremained open, but under Papen’s rule, the police began to harass people associated with it. On January 30, 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as chancellor. Less than four months after the Nazis took power, Hirschfeld’s Institute was ransacked. On the morning of May 6th, a group of university students belonging to the National Socialist Student League stormed into the institution, shouting “Brenne Hirschfeld!” (“Burn Hirschfeld!”) and began to beat up the staff and smash up the premises. That afternoon, the SA came to the institute, carrying out a more systematic attack, removing all volumes from the library for a book-burning event four days later. In the evening, the Berlin police arrived to announce that the institution was now closed forever.Its library of thousands of books was destroyed by the Nazis.

1930 – María Irene Fornés (born May 14, 1930) is born. She is a Cuban-American avant gardeplaywright and director who was a leading figure of the Off-Off-Broadway movement in the 1960s. Always an iconoclast, each of Fornés’s plays was its own world, all vastly different from each other. Whereas contemporary playwrights developed a signature style, the critical factor identifying a Fornés play is not tone or structure, but an intense, relentless and compassionate examination of the human condition—especially the way intimate personal relationships are impacted and infected by economic conditions. In 1959, Fornés met the writer Susan Sontag (January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004)at a party and began a relationship that lasted several years. It was while Fornés was with Sontag that she began to write plays. 

1969, Canada –Canada decriminalizes homosexual acts between consenting adults with the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69.

1970 – The American Psychiatric Association meeting in New York City includes a presentation advocating the use of electro-convulsive therapy as a “cure” for homosexuality. Three years later it rules that homosexuality is not an illness. The Gay Liberation Front activists ZAP a special session of the American Psychiatric Association dealing with “sex problems.” The activists protest an Australian doctor’s paper on the use of electroshock aversion therapy to “treat” homosexuality.

1974 – U.S. Congress members Bella Abzug and Ed Koch introduce the first national gay civil rights bill, the predecessor to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The Equality Act of 1974, would have amended the 1964 Civil Rights Act, by adding “sexual orientation” to the list of protected from discrimination. The Act has never passed despite numerous introductions since 1974.

1976, Canada – Montreal police raid Montreal’s Neptune Sauna and arrest nineteen men, charging them with being “found-ins” in common bawdyhouse.

1981 – The Reagan administration cancels the White House subscription to The Advocate

1983 – Gay serial killer Randy Kraft is arrested. He is known as “the Scorecard Killer” and “the Freeway Killer.” Kraft is described as one of the “deadliest and most depraved serial killers” in the California’s history, He murdered 61 young men before being caught on this day. He is currently on death row in California.

 1996 – Blake Brockington (May 14, 1996– March 23, 2015) was an American trans manwhose suicide attracted international attention. He had previously received attention as the first openly transgender high school homecoming king in North Carolina, and had since been advocating for LGBT youth, the transgender community, and against police brutality.Brockington was enrolled at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, majoring in music education. At the time of his death, he was on medical leave and not attending classes. He stated that his plans were to become a band director and composer.Brockington died on March 23, 2015 after being struck by several vehicles on the outer loop of Interstate 485 near Pavilion Boulevard in Charlotte. The incident was considered a suicide and was similar in nature to the suicides of Ash Haffner (1999-Feb. 26, 2015) and Leelah Alcorn(November 15, 1997 – December 28, 2014).

2013, Brazil – The National Council of Justice rules 4-1 to allow same-sex marriage nationally.

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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