Today in LGBT History – November 20

Today Kelly and I are hosting a fundraising event for Joy Silver. Joy is a candidate for the California Senate District 28. The incumbent against whom she’s running is a trumper republican who supports the new proposed tax code. It’s time to get him out of our lives in Coachella Valley. As we search for ways to create change, here’s one of them: work for people who are running against trumpers in your district. They need our help and our money. I invite you to go to Kelly’s and my Facebook page cleverly called Resist with Kelly and Ronni. Also, use Resistbot on your phones to text your legislators. Just text to 50409 and type resist. They’ll guide you through the rest.

Today in LGBT History – November 20

1910 – Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray (November 20, 1910 – July 1, 1985) was an American civil rights activist, women’s rights activistlawyerEpiscopal priest, and author. Drawn to the ministry, in 1977 Murray became the first black woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest and was among the first group of women to become priests in that church. In 1940, Murray sat in the whites-only section of a Virginia bus with a friend, and they were arrested for violating state segregation laws. This incident, and her subsequent involvement with the socialist Workers’ Defense League, led her to pursue her career goal of working as a civil rights lawyer. As a lawyer, Murray argued for civil rights and women’s rights. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Chief Counsel Thurgood Marshall called Murray’s 1950 book, States’ Laws on Race and Color, the “bible” of the civil rights movement. In 1966 she was a co-founder of the National Organization for Women. Murray struggled in her adult life with issues related to her sexual and gender identity, describing herself as having an “inverted sex instinct”. She described herself as having an “inverted sex instinct” that caused her to behave as a man attracted to women would. She wanted a “monogamous married life”, but one in which she was the man. She had a brief, annulled marriage to a man and several deep relationships with women. In her younger years, she occasionally had passed as a teenage boy. In addition to her legal and advocacy work, Murray published two well-reviewed autobiographies and a volume of poetry. On July 1, 1985 the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray died of pancreatic cancer in the house she owned with a lifelong friend, Maida Springer Kemp, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2012 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church voted to honor Murray as one of its Holy Women, Holy Men, to be commemorated on July 1, the anniversary of her death, along with fellow writer Harriet Beecher Stowe. In December, 2016, the Pauli Murray Family Home was named as a National Historic Landmark.

1934 – “The Children’s Hour,” a play by Lillian Hellman in which two school teachers are accused of having a lesbian relationship, opens on Broadway to rave reviews and sellout audiences. A largely sympathetic account of two schoolteachers accused of lesbianism by one of their students, the play is loosely based on an actual case in 19th-century Scotland.

1975 – Members of the Austin Lesbian Organization and Gay Community Services picketed the Austin-American Statesman for refusing to run ads for gay organizations and running housing and employment ads which specified “no gays.” The paper agreed the next month not to print ads which state “no gays,” and began printing ads from gay and lesbian organizations the following April when the Austin City Council passed a Public Accommodations Ordinance which outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation.

1990, UK – A London judge convicts 14 gay men of committing criminal assaults upon themselves because of their participation in S&M. All 14 receive prison sentences.

1995 – Steven Powsner (November 19, 1955 – November 20, 1995), who had been president of the New York City Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center from 1992-1994, dies of complications from AIDS at the age of 40. His first lover, Bruce Philip Cooper, died of AIDS in 1987.

1996 – The Ashland Wisconsin school district agrees to pay former student Jamie Nabozny $900,000 in damages. While he was a student, administrators took no action to alleviate the physical and verbal abuse he suffered because he was gay. The nearly one-million-dollar settlement makes Jamie the first of a long string of students to successfully sue schools and school employees for failing to protect them from horrendous homophobic abuse. Nabozny v. Podlesny, 92 F.3d 446 (7th Cir. 1996) was a case heard in the Circuit regarding the protection of a school student in Ashland, Wisconsin, who had been harassed and bullied by classmates because of his sexual orientation. The plaintiff in the case—Jamie Nabozny—sought damages from school officials for their failure to protect him from the bullying. A jury found that this failure violated Nabozny’s constitutional rights and awarded him $962,000 in damages.

1998 – John Geddes Lawrence and Tyrone Garner of Texas are ordered to pay fines of $125 each after being arrested for having sex in their home. The couple refuse to pay and announce they would challenge the Texas sodomy law. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court. The Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas in a 6–3 decision and, by extension, invalidated sodomy laws in 13 other states, making same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory. The Court, with a five-justice majority, overturned its previous ruling on the same issue in the 1986 case Bowers v. Hardwick, where it upheld a challenged Georgia statute and did not find a constitutional protection of  sexual privacy. Lawrence v. Texas paved the way for same-sex marriage which began in 2004.

2003 – The United States Congress passes a resolution condemning all violations of internationally recognized human rights norms based on the real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of an individual

2008 – The Supreme Court of California agrees to hear arguments for a possible overturn of Proposition 8.

2010, Japan – Transgender Japanese singer Alaru Nakamura’s (born 28 June 1985) album “Boy-Girl” wins the Excellent Album music award at the 56th Japan Record Awards ceremony. Nakamura was assigned male at birth but transitioned after struggling with issues of gender identity. This was  mentioned in her official biography short during her appearance at the 2007 Kouhaku Uta Gassen.

 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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