Today in LGBT History – MAY 18

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 18

1921 – Patrick Dennis (May 18, 1921 – November 6, 1976), pseudonym of Edward Everett Tanner, the writer who created Auntie Mame,was born in Chicago. An out bisexual man, he is the only author to have had three novels on the New York Times best-seller list at the same time. Auntie Mames first edition spent 112 weeks on the bestseller list (for 8 weeks in 1956), selling more than 2,000,000 copies in five different languages. The manuscript was turned down by fifteen publishers before being accepted by Vanguard Press. Dennis also wrote several novels under the pseudonym Virginia Rowans. On December 30, 1948, Dennis married Louise Stickney, with whom he had two children. He led a double life as a conventional husband and father, and as a bisexual. in later life becoming a well-known participant in Greenwich Village‘s gay scene.

1969 –Fight Repression of Erotic Expression (FREE), later to be called the Queer Student Cultural Center, is formed at the University of Minnesota. In 1971, an original officer of FREE, Jack Baker, was the first openly gay man elected student body president at a major university. By winning this election he became the first openly gay man to win any public office in the U.S. In 1970, Jack Baker and Mike McConnell also became the first gay couple to seek legal marriage and were featured in Life magazine. Jack was also re-elected in 1972. FREE pressed for equality and crafted a new University policy. The Administrative Committee approved a final draft 22 May 1972. Complaints could now be filed with the Campus Committee on Placement Services for discrimination by employers recruiting on campus. When challenged, Honeywell admitted that its objection to known homosexuals “still holds.” Facing expulsion from University facilities, Honeywell “quietly reversed its hiring policy”. No longer would it refuse to employ people because they are gay.FREE is the second such organization in the United States, following the Student Homophile Leaguerecognized by Columbia University in 1967.

1970 – Richard John “Jack” Baker and James Michael McConnell file for a marriage license in Minnesota. The clerk of the Hennepin County District Court, Gerald Nelson, said he had “no intention of issuing a marriage license,” tbecause itwould “result in an undermining and destruction of the entire legal concept of our family structure in all areas of law.” In mid-August 1971, Baker and McConnell took up residence in Blue Earth County and applied to the District Court in Mankato for a license to marry which was granted once the waiting period expired.Rev. Roger Lynn, a Methodist minister, solemnized their marriage on September 3rd. They were the first legally married couple and remain together to this day.

1974, Canada – The first prairie conference of gay organizations is hosted by Saskatoon Gay Action. 

1978, Canada – In Toronto, the second annual conference of MCC (Metropolitan Community Church) in Canada sees the election of a new Canadian coordinator and installation of Rev. Brent Hawkes  (born June 2, 1950)as pastor of MCC Toronto. 

1981 – Lawrence D. Mass, MD (born June 11, 1946) is the first person to report about AIDS. Many believe that June 5, 1981 is the date of the first published report on the new disease which would later become known as AIDS, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a notice concerning five previously healthy gay men in Los Angeles who died from rare infections which were normally easily curable. But the first published report actually appeared in the New York Native, a gay newspaper, three weeks earlier, on page seven. Dr. Mass went on the help found the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and was the principle author of the organization’s “Medical Answers about AIDS” through four revisions spanning ten years. Dr. Mass still works as a physician in New York City, where he resides with his life partner, writer and activist Arnie Kantrowitz (born November 26, 1940). Arnold (Arnie) Kantrowitz was an early secretary and vice-president of the pioneering New York City Gay Activists Allianceand is a co-founder of Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation(GLAAD). He is the author of Under the Rainbow: Growing Up Gay, one of the first autobiographies by a gay activist. From 1999 until his 2004 retirement, Kantrowitz was chair of the English department at the College of Staten Island, where he taught for 41 years. The personal papers of Kantrowitz and Mass are designated for deposit with the New York Public Library.

2006, Belgium – The Belgium Parliament votes to allow same-sex couples to adopt children.

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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