Today in LGBT History – MAY 15

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 15

1855 – Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) registers “Leaves of Grass” with the US Copyright agency. The collection is considered an expression of homosexuality and leads to years of controversy.

1871, Germany – Paragraph 175 is added to the GermanCriminal Code. It made homosexualacts between males a crime. The Nazis broadened the law in 1935 and gay men were forced to wear a pink triangle to indicate their homosexuality. In the prosecutions that followed, thousands died in Nazi concentration camps. It was repealed on March 10, 1994.

1969, Canada -The House of Commons votes to decriminalize private same-sex acts between consenting adults. The new law goes into effect in August.

1977 – CBS’ 60 Minutes broadcasts a segment on child pornography, concentrating on “adult homosexuals who prey on small boys.” As a result, teenagers from a conservative New York Catholic high school go on a bashing spree, beating one victim to death. They are later sentenced to 35 and 40 years in prison.

1979, Canada – Teacher Don Jones is dismissed by the Smeaton, Saskatchewan because of a complaint to school board that he is gay. 

1981 –  In the midst of Lesbian/Gay Awareness Week at the University of Florida, a fraternity-circulated petition asserting, “Homosexuals need bullets-not acceptance” draws the signatures of almost fifty people. “We don’t have anything else to do,” says one of the petition’s organizers. “We’re just out here having a good time. I don’t believe in queers.”

1988 – Having tied up, tortured, and robbed one gay man the night before, two Hartford, Connecticut, teenagers — Sean Burke and Marcos Perez — bludgeon Richard Reihl to death. Despite attempts by the defense to portray the two teenaged assailants as star athletes and “All-American boys” who deserve leniency and compassion, a judge sentences them to forty and thirty-five years in prison, respectively, for the killing.

1990 – Stella Maynes Maxwell (born 15 May 1990) is a British fashion model. She is a New Zealander model known for being a Victoria’s Secret Angel and the face of Max Factor. Since late 2016, she has been dating actress Kristen Stewart(born April 9, 1990).

1996 – The Episcopal Church court rules that there is no “core doctrine” against ordaining a gay man as a deacon, the clergy rank below that of priest.

2008 – The California Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. By November 3rd, 2008, more than 18,000 same-sex couples have married. On November 4, California voters approve a ban on same-sex marriage called Proposition 8.

2010, Greenland – The country’s first LGBT Pride parade takes place. It’s the second largest public gathering in Greenland with over 2% of the country’s population attending.

2013 – Dr. Saul Levin was named the new chief executive officer and medical director of the American Psychiatric Association, making him the first known openly gay person to head the APA.Levin was born in South Africa and received his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1982. He then moved to the United States to complete a residency in psychiatry at UC Davis Medical Center. He completed a master’s degree in public administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University in 1994.

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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