Today in LGBT History – MAY 6

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 6

1868, Germany – The term “homosexual” is written for the first time by Karl-Maria Kertbeny (February 28, 1824 – January 23, 1882)in a letter to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (28 August 1825 – 14 July 1895). He derived it from the Greek homos (“the same”) and the Latin root sexualis. Kerbeny, a Hungarian-German doctor who is an early sympathizer of Ulrichs’, uses both “homosexual” and “heterosexual,” terms he has recently coined as part of his system for the classification of sexual types, as a replacement for the pejorative terms “sodomite” and “pederast” that were used in the German- and French-speaking world of his time. In addition, he called the attraction between men and womenheterosexualism

1895, Italy – Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguella(May 6, 1895 – August 23, 1926), professionally known as Rudolph Valentino, was an Italian naturalized American actor who starred in several well-known silent filmsincluding The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle, and The Son of the Sheik. He was an early pop icon and a sex symbol of the 1920s who was known as the “Latin lover” or simply as “Valentino”.His death at 31 caused mass hysteria among his female fans and further propelled him to iconic status. From the time he died in 1926 until the 1960s, Valentino’s sexuality was not generally questioned in print. At least four books, including the notoriously libelous Hollywood Babylon, suggested that he may have been gay despite his marriage to Rambova. For some, the marriages to Acker and Rambova, as well as the relationship with Pola Negri, add to the suspicion that Valentino was gay and that these were “lavender marriages.”

1933, Germany – In Berlin young Nazis attack and destroy the Institute of Sexual Research. A few days later, the institute’s priceless collection of more than 20,000 publications and 5,000 photographs is burned in a public ceremony. The Institute was founded by Magnus Hirschfeld (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935), a German Jewishphysician and sexologist in Berlin-Charlottenburg. An outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee. Historian Dustin Goltz characterized this group as having carried out “the first advocacy for homosexual and transgender rights“. Under the more liberal atmosphere of the newly founded Weimar Republic, Hirschfeld purchased a villa not far from the Reichstag building in Berlin for his new Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute of Sexual Research), which opened on 6 July 1919. In Germany, the Reich government made laws, but the Länder governments enforced the laws, meaning it was up to the Länder governments to enforce Paragraph 175, which they simply didn’t do. After the Nazis gained control of Germany in the 1930s, the Institute and its libraries were destroyed as part of a Nazi government censorship program by youth brigades, who burned its books and documents in the street. On 28 June 1934 Hitler conducted a purge of gay men in the ranks of the SA wing of the Nazis, which involved murdering them in the Night of the Long Knives. This was then followed by stricter laws on homosexuality and the round-up of gay men. The address lists seized from the Institute are believed to have aided Hitler in these actions. Many tens of thousands of arrestees found themselves, ultimately, in slave-labor or death camps.

1947 – Jon Reed Sims (May 6, 1947 – July 16, 1984), is born. He was the founder of the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corp, world’s first openly gay musical group. Simswas an American choir conductor born in Smith Center, Kansas.Sims studied music composition at Wichita State University, and received his master’s degree in music from Indiana University. Moving to San Francisco, he became a music teacher by profession, serving for a time as a high school band teacher in Daly City but soon became involved in the developing gay community.He formed the San Francisco band in response to Anita Bryant‘s anti-gay campaign in the late 1970s. Upon its founding in 1978, it became the first openly-gay musical group in the world. In successive years, Sims created the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, Lambda Pro Musica orchestra (now defunct), and encouraged the formation of the Big Apple Corps GLBT band in New York by Nancy Corporon and The Great American Yankee Freedom Band of Los Angeles by Wayne Love. He died from complications of AIDS at the age of 37.   As one friend said in Sims’ newspaper obituary, he gave gays “an alternative to the baths and the bars.”

1959 – The Cooper’s Donuts riot is the first documented LGBT uprising in the U.S. A group of drag queens and hustlers fought the police in the donut shop in downtown Los Angeles, furious that LAPD officers were arresting their friends for legally congregating in Cooper’s, a popular gay meeting place. Cooper’s was located on Main Street, the Los Angeles “gay ghetto” of the 1950s and ‘60s. The event is chronicled in detail in Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians,by Lillian Faderman (born July 18, 1940)and Stuart Timmons (January 14, 1957 – January 28, 2017) , a meticulously researched book that positions Los Angeles—and not New York—as the most influential gay city of modern times. By Harry Hay’s (April 7, 1912 – October 24, 2002)recollection, there were even earlier riots and uprisings in which gay and transgender Angelenos were instrumental in resisting police, but Cooper’s was the first such uprising specifically against police treatment of LGBT people. 

1976, Canada – Two Members of Ontario Provincial Parliament, Margaret Campbell (Liberal – St George – downtown Toronto) and Ted Bounsell (NDP – Windsor), introduce private members’ bills to amend Ontario Human Rights Code to include sexual orientation. The bills are defeated. 

1994 – Noah Egidi Galvin (born May 6, 1994) is an American actor and singer. He is best known for playing Kenny O’Neal in the ABC sitcom The Real O’Neals and the titular role in the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen. He came out as gay at the age of 14.

2012 – The Family Equality Council hosted its first International Family Equality Day. All over the world, more and more children are growing up in families where one or both of their parents identify as LGBTQ. Yet, each of these “rainbow families” have very different lived equality experiences, often depending not only on what country they live in but what street they live on. In some countries, our families enjoy equal rights and social recognition but in far too many others both parents and their children face overt discrimination and have to live under a constant threat of violence.By celebrating IFED, Family Equality Council and our partners across the globe raise awareness among politicians and the general public about the need for equal treatment and recognition for all families, regardless of the sexual orientation or gender identity of their family’s members.

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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