Today in LGBT History – November 17

From Sarah Schulman: “Didn’t 70’s feminists, the most maligned radicals in American history, tell us almost fifty years ago that men on the Left and Right were both absurdly sexist? The difference is that one group votes for abortion rights and the other votes against it. And that is a significant difference. While all invasive, dismissive, and demeaning male behavior creates unnecessary stress in women’s lives, physical violence has a different impact than general domination. Fear and pain are different than anger and exclusion from power and experience. The weight of being burdened by all of this is carried differently based on other factors in our lives. I guess that is the continuum that we somehow need to parse in this moment of accusation.”

If you were sexually abused in any way, you are not alone. Speak out. Join myself and far too many others as we finally and fiercely hold our attackers accountable.

Today in LGBT History – November 17

1862 – Thomas Hannah, Jr., a private in Company G of the 95th Illinois Regiment, writes  that one of the soldiers in his regiment was found to be a female. He was referring to Albert Cashier (December 25, 1843 – October 10, 1915), , a female-bided Civil War soldier who had lived as a man. Albert D. J. Cashier, born Jennie Irene Hodgers, was an Irish-born female immigrant who served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Cashier adopted the identity of a man before enlisting, and maintained it for most of the remainder of his life. He became famous as one of a number of female-born soldiers who served as men during the Civil War, although the consistent and long-term commitment to the male identity has prompted some contemporary scholars to suggest that Cashier was a trans man.

1889, UK – The New York Times publishes a report on the “Cleveland Street Scandal,” a case involving a house of male prostitutes and members of British nobility. The Cleveland Street scandal occurred in 1889, when a homosexual male brothel in Cleveland StreetFitzrovia, London, was discovered by police. The government was accused of covering up the scandal to protect the names of aristocratic and other prominent patrons. At the time, sexual acts between men were illegal in Britain, and the brothel’s clients faced possible prosecution and certain social ostracism if discovered. It was rumored that Prince Albert Victor, the eldest son of the Prince of Wales and second-in-line to the British throne had visited, though this has never been substantiated. Unlike overseas newspapers, the English press never named the Prince, but the allegation influenced the handling of the case by the authorities,[1] and has colored biographers’ perceptions of him since. After Henry James FitzRoy, Earl of Euston, was named in the press as a client, he successfully sued for libel. The scandal fueled the attitude that male homosexuality was an aristocratic vice that corrupted lower-class youths. Such perceptions were still prevalent in 1895 when the Marquess of Queensberry accused Oscar Wilde of being an active homosexual.

1925 – Rock Hudson  (born Roy Harold Scherer Jr.; November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985), actor is born. He was an American actor, generally known for his turns as a leading man during the 1950s and 1960s. Viewed as a prominent ‘heartthrob’ of the Hollywood Golden Age, he achieved stardom with roles in films such as Magnificent Obsession(1954), All That Heaven Allows (1955) and Giant (1956), and found continued success with a string of romantic comedies co-starring Doris Day in Pillow Talk (1959), Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964). After appearing in films including Seconds (1966), Tobruk(1967) and Ice Station Zebra (1968) during the late 1960s, Hudson began a second career in television through the 1970s and 1980s, starring in the popular mystery series McMillan & Wife and the opera Dynasty. While his career developed, Hudson and his agent Henry Willson kept the actor’s personal life out of the headlines. In 1955, Confidential magazine threatened to publish an exposé about Hudson’s secret homosexual life. Willson stalled this by disclosing information about two of his other clients. Willson provided information about Rory Calhoun‘s years in prison and the arrest of Tab Hunter (born July 11, 1931) at a party in 1950. According to some colleagues, Hudson’s homosexual activity was well known in Hollywood throughout his career,  and former co-stars Elizabeth Taylor and James claimed that they knew of his homosexuality, as did Carol Burnett. Unknown to the public, Hudson was diagnosed with HIV on June 5, 1984, just three years after the existence of HIV and AIDS had been discovered by scientists. On July 25, 1985, Hudson’s French publicist Yanou Collart confirmed that Hudson did in fact have AIDS. He was among the first notable individuals to have been diagnosed with the disease. On October 2, 1985, Hudson died in his sleep from AIDS-related complications at his home in Beverly Hills at age 59.

1928 – The New York Times reports that a London judge found the lesbian novel “The Well of Loneliness” obscene and ordered all seized copies of it destroyed.

1960 – RuPaul (born November 17, 1960) is born. RuPaul Andre Charles  is an American actor/host, drag queen, television personality, and singer/songwriter. Since 2009, he has produced and hosted the reality competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race, for which he received two Awards in 2016 and 2017. He has described doing drag as a “very, very political” act because it “challenges the status quo” by rejecting fixed identities: “drag says ‘I’m a shapeshifter, I do whatever the hell I want at any given time’. RuPaul has been with his Australian partner, Georges LeBar, since 1994, when they met at the Limelight nightclub in New York City. They married in January 2017. LeBar is a painter and runs a 50,000-acre ranch in Wyoming.

1971 – A group of sex researchers looking for physical differences between homosexual and heterosexual men announce erroneous findings that heterosexuals have 40% more testosterone in their blood than homosexuals do.

1974 – The New Yorker publishes its first gay-themed short, “Minor Heroism” by Allan Gurganus.

1979, Canada – Vancouver Sun reverses course and accepts ad from Gay Tide after a five-year court battle. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Sun had “reasonable cause” to refuse advertising. The first ad was submitted to the Sun on October 23, 1974.

1985 – In New York City, more than 700 people concerned about negative publicity surrounding AIDS, bathhouses, and gay promiscuity attend a town meeting that leads to the founding of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Formed in New York City in 1985 to protest against what it saw as the New York Posts defamatory and sensationalized AIDS coverage, GLAAD put pressure on media organizations to end what it saw as homophobic reporting. Initial meetings were held in the homes of several New York City activists as well as after-hours at the New York State Council on the Arts. The founding group included film scholar Vito Russo (July 11, 1946 – November 7, 1990), Gregory Kolovakos (July 30, 1951 – April 16, 1990), then on the staff of the NYS Arts Council and who later became the first executive director; Darryl Yates Rist (1948-1993), Allen Barnett  (May 23, 1955 – August 14, 1991) ; and Jewelle Gomez (born September 11, 1948), the organization’s first treasurer. Some members of GLAAD went on to become the early members of ACT UP.

1988 – The first National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change conference was held in Washington DC..

1991, UK- OutRage, a London direct-action group, stages a zap against the Living Waters ex-gay movement at St Michael’s Church in Belgravia.

1992 – Audre Lorde (born Audrey Geraldine Lorde, February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992) dies. She was a writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist. As a poet, she is best known for technical mastery and emotional expression, as well as her poems that express anger and outrage at civil and social injustices she observed throughout her life.[1] Her poems and prose largely deal with issues related to civil rights, feminism, and the exploration of black female identity. While highlighting Audre Lorde’s intersectional points through a lens that focuses on race, gender, socioeconomic status/class and so on, we must also embrace one of her salient identities; lesbianism. Audre Lorde was a lesbian and navigated spaces interlocking her womanhood, gayness and blackness in ways that trumped white feminism, predominately white gay spaces and toxic black male masculinity. Audre Lorde used those identities within her work and ultimately it guided her to create pieces that embodied lesbianism in a light that educated people of many social classes and identities on the issues black lesbian women face in society. From 1991 until her death, she was the New York State Poet Laureate. Lorde died of liver cancer on November 17, 1992, in St. Croix, where she had been living with Gloria I. Joseph. She was 58. In an African naming ceremony before her death, she took the name Gamba Adisa, which means “Warrior: She Who Makes Her Meaning Known.”

1995 – James Woods III (1963-1995), co-author of “The Corporate Closet: The Professional Lives of Gay Men in America,” dies of complications from AIDS at age 32. Woods graduated from Harvard College and the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. He was an assistant professor of communications at Staten Island and at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan. He is survived by his partner, Paul D. Young

1996 – Psychologist Dr. Evelyn Hooker dies. Her research at UCLA provided some of the earliest evidence that homosexuality is not a psychological disease.

1997 – The National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum issues a press release applauding singer Janet Jackson for her use of sexual orientation themes in her album “The Velvet Rope.”

1997, Mexico – Patria Jimenez (born Elsa Patria Jiménez Flores, 1957) is the first openly gay person elected to a Latin American congress. She is a Mexican politician and head of Clóset de Sor Juana (Sister Juana’s Closet). Openly lesbian, she became the first gay member of Mexico’s legislature in the country’s history—the first in any legislature in Latin America. Jiménez is the longtime head of Sister Juana’s Closet, a lesbian rights group named after Juana Inés de la Cruz, a Carmelite nun and renowned Mexican poet. It is a United Nations accredited Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).

1999 – Methodist minister Jimmy Creech was stripped of his clerical status for presiding over a same-sex holy union.

2003 – The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts rules that the state cannot bar same-sex couples from marrying and gives the legislature until June to rewrite the laws.

2010 – Transgender Phyllis Frye (born 1946) is appointed an associate judge for the City of Houston. She is the first openly transgender judge appointed in the United States.  Frye graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. While at Texas A&M, Frye was a member of the University’s Corps of Cadets, belonged to the Texas A&M Singing Cadets and got married. She was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 1972. She transitioned in 1976, and earned an M.B.A. and J.D. from the University of Houston. On April 28, 2013, Frye was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Transgender Foundation of America.

2013, UK – Nikki Sinclair (born 26 July 1968) comes out as the first transgender member of the European Parliament. She is a British politician and former leader of the We Demand a Referendum Party who served as a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands from 2009 to 2014.

2013, Chili – Claudio Arriagada (Oct. 22, 1955) , the mayor of La Granja, Santiago Province, is elected to the Chilean chamber of Deputies after coming out as gay. He is the first openly gay person elected to Congress in Chilean history.

2015 – The U.S. Congress launches the Transgender Equality Task Force to address issues affecting transgender and gender non-conforming people.

Speak out, share your story, keep LGBT history alive.




(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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