Today in LGBT History – MAY 20

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 20

1782 – On this day Deborah Sampson (December 27, 1760- April 29, 1827) enlisted as a Continental soldier using the name of her late brother, Robert Shurtliff Sampson, who also served. She was in the Light Infantry Company of the 4thMassachusetts Regiment. She is one of a small number of women with a documented record of military combat experience in that war, serving for months. She was wounded in 1782, and was honorably discharged at West Point, New York in 1783. In January 1792, Sampson petitioned the Massachusetts State Legislature for pay which the army had withheld from her because she was a woman. The legislature granted her petition and Governor John Hancock signed it. The legislature awarded her 34 pounds plus interest back to her discharge in 1783.In 1802, Sampson began giving lectures about her wartime service. She began by extolling the virtues of traditional gender roles for women, but toward the end of her presentation she left the stage, returned dressed in her army uniform. Sampson died of yellow fever at the aged 66 on April 29, 1827.

1936, Germany – The German actress Therese Giehse (March 6,1898 – March 3,1975) had been lovers with Erika Mann  (November 9, 1905 – August 27, 1969)in 1933. Born in Munich to German-Jewish parents, she first appeared on the stage in 1920. She became a major star on stage, in films, and in political cabaret. In the late 1920s through 1933, she was a leading actress at the famous Munich Kammerspiele. On 20 May 1936 she married the homosexual English writer John Hampson, in order to obtain a British passport and thereby avoid capture by the Nazis. She returned to Germany after World War II, and performed in theaters on both sides of the Iron Curtain, but mostly in her native Bavaria, until her death in 1975.

1979 – The first Mr. International Leather contest is held. The winner is David Klos. International Mister Leather (IML) is an international, though largely American, conference and contest of leathermen held annually in May since 1979 in Chicago, Illinois.

1996 – In the case of Romer v. Evans, the United States Supreme Court decides that Colorado’s Amendment Two, denying gays and lesbians protections against discrimination, is unconstitutional, calling them “special rights.”

2008 – Sam Adams (born September 3, 1963)is the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, Portland, OR. He wins with 58% of the vote. Richard Heyman (c. 1935 – September 16, 1994) was the first openly gay person to be elected mayor, of Key West in 1983, stepped down after serving a two-year term, then ran again and won in 1987.

2012, Ukraine – In Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev, rights activists planned that country’s first Pride march. Over 500 Neo-Nazi nationalists attacked and insured some of the marchers, in plain view of police officers merely watching. The march was cancelled.

2017, Bucharest – Some 1,000 people joined a gay pride march in the Romanian capital of Bucharest demanding greater rights amid government moves they say will curtail their rights. Some 30 ambassadors expressed support for the march and for protecting the rights of the LGBT community and U.S. Ambassador Hans G. Klemm was among those taking part, despite the pouring rain. The gay pride march, now in its 13th year in Romania, comes after lawmakers approved an initiative that could amend Romania’s constitution to explicitly state that marriage is a union between a man and woman. The wording now is a union between “spouses.” Romania decriminalized homosexuality in 2001.

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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