Today in LGBT History – MAY 27

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 27

1917, UK – Major Michael Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers (27 May 1917 – December 1999) was a West Country landowner who gained notoriety in Britain in the 1950s when he was put on trial for buggery. This trial was instrumental in bringing public attention—and opposition—to the laws against homosexual acts as they then stood.

1919, Germany –Berlin doctor Magnus Hirschfeld (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935)co-founds the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft(Institute for Sex Research), a pioneering private research institute and counseling office. Its library of thousands of books was destroyed by the Nazis in May of 1933.

1927 – Lesbian author Marijane Meaker (born May 27, 1927 – 1995) is born. In 1952 she wrote “Spring Fire,” the first lesbian paperback novel which was the beginning of the lesbian pulp fiction genre. Her publisher made her change its ending from happy to tragic. The book sold 1.5 million copies. Marijane used the pseudonym Vin Packer among others. Using her own observations of lesbians, she wrote a series of nonfiction books about lesbians under the pen name Ann Aldrich from 1955 to 1972. She died in 1995. She wrote a series of nonfiction books about lesbians under the pen name Ann Aldrich from 1955 to 1972. In 1972 she switched genres and pen names once more to begin writing for young adults, and became quite successful as M.E. Kerr, producing over 20 novels and winning multiple awards including the American Library Association‘s lifetime award for young-adult literature, the ALA Margaret Edwards Award. She was described by The New York Times Book Review as “one of the grand masters of young adult fiction.” As Mary James, she wrote four books for younger children. Meaker was involved romantically with author Patricia Highsmith for two years. She wrote about this relationship in the 2003 nonfiction memoir, Highsmith: A Romance of the 1950s, and discussed it and her own pulp fiction novels in interviews around the time of the book’s release. Meaker explained her reasons behind writing about their relationship: “I knew Pat when she was young and not yet so jaded and bigoted. The internet is filled with stories of her meanness, and prejudice, and also of herintroversion, of her being a loner. I met that Pat many years after we broke up.”Meaker died in 1995.

1937 – Approximately 200,000 bridge walkers attend the opening day of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The bridge was considered a symbol of the gay community.

1987 – Lambda Book Report, the first periodical devoted exclusively to lesbian and gay literature, makes its debut.

1993, Russia – President Boris Yeltsin publishes a decree decriminalizing consensual adult male sodomy.

1994 – Canadian Olympic pole vaulter and world champion Shawnacy “Shawn” Campbell Barber (born 27 May 1994)is born. He came out publicly on Face Book on April 24, 2017, when he wrote: “Gay and proud! Thank you to my parents for being such a great support. I continue to grow as a person and have a great support group. My parents are my greatest support and have helped me through a lot recently. To my friends, you are always my friends and I love you too!”

2006, Russia – First attempt at Moscow pride. The march accompanying a gay rights forum was banned. Some activists try to march despite the ban. Neo-Nazi groups and Orthodox protesters threaten the gay activists and beat the marchers. About 50 marchers and 20 protesters are arrested. In 2016, arrests took place during Moscow’s 10th Gay Pride Parade, an event that officials have banned every year of its existence. In previous years, police quickly dispersed the demonstrations, and again protesters were quickly arrested and hauled into waiting vans. 

2018 – Connie Kurtz (1936-May 27, 2018) died in West Palm Beach, Florida. Ruthie Berman (born 1934) and Connie Kurtz are American LGBT rights activists. As a couple, they successfully sued the New York City Board of Education for domestic partner benefits, winning such benefits for all New York City employees. Both women were born in Brooklyn, Berman in 1934 and Kurtz in 1936. They met in the late 1950s and became friends, both married to men and had children at the time. Kurtz moved to Israel with her family in 1970, and when she returned to visit America in 1974, she and Ruthie fell in love. They divorced their husbands and became a couple. “Forty-two years we have been ‘significant others,’ we have been ‘life partners,’ we have been any name at the time fitting couples of the same sex,” Connie said. “We now are ‘spouses.’ ’’ They married on July 26, 2011 in New York City — two days after the state legalized same-sex marriage.Known in the gay world as “Ruthie and Connie,” they received the SAGE Pioneer Award in 2016, presented by Services & Advocacy For GLBT Elders, the country’s largest and oldest organization for LGBT seniors.The 2017 Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act was endorsed by SAGE USANational Center for Transgender Equality, and National LGBTQ Task Force.In 2002 a documentary titled “Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House,”  directed by Deborah Dickson, was made about their lives.. The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2002, and won six best documentary awards within a year. The Ruth Berman and Connie Kurtz Papers are held in the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.

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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