Today in LGBT History – May

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. —Audre Lorde

Learning our history IS resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – May 41497, Italy – Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican friar, gives the Ascension Day sermon in which he preaches the suppression of sodomy and the burning of men who are “sodomites.”

1895, UK – Regina v. Wilde Trial is depicted on front page of The Illustrated Police News. It shows the drama of Oscar Wilde’s second trial of the year for sodomy.

1958 – Keith Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) is born. He was an American artist whose pop art and graffiti-like work grew out of the New York City street culture of the 1980s. Haring’s work grew to iconic popularity from his exuberant spontaneous drawings in New York City subways – chalk outlines on blank black advertising-space backgrounds – depicting radiant babies, flying saucers, and deified dogs.  After public recognition he created larger scale works such as colorful murals, many of them commissioned. His imagery has become a widely recognized visual language. His later work often addressed political and societal themes – especially homosexuality and AIDS – through his own unique iconography. Haring’s work very clearly demonstrates many important political and personal influences. Ideas about his sexual orientation are apparent throughout his work and his journals clearly confirm its impact on his work. Heavy symbolism speaking about the AIDS epidemic is vivid in his later pieces. Haring was a gay man who died of complications from AIDS at age 31.

1993 – Angels in America: Millennium Approaches opens on Broadway. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is a two-part play by American playwright Tony Kushner (born July 16, 1956). The work won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Tony Award for Best Play, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play. Part one of the play premiered in 1991 and its Broadway opening was in 1993. The two parts of the play are separately presentable and entitled Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, respectively. The play has been adapted into a 2003 miniseries of the same title, and a 2004 opera by Peter Eötvös.

2004 – David Peter Reimer (August 22, 1965 – May 4, 2004) is born. He was a Canadian man born male but reassigned as a girl and raised female following medical advice and intervention after his penis was accidentally destroyed during a botched circumcision in infancy. Psychologist John Money oversaw the case and reported the reassignment as successful and as evidence that gender identity is primarily learned. Academic sexologist Milton Diamond later reported that Reimer’s realization he was not a girl crystallized between the ages of 9 and 11, and he transitioned to living as a male at age 15. Well known in medical circles for years anonymously as the “John/Joan” case, Reimer later went public with his story to help discourage similar medical practices. He later committed suicide after suffering years of severe depression, financial instability, and a troubled marriage.

2010, El Salvador – The President of El Salvador issues a decree banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.