Today in LGBT History – NOVEMBER 4

Musings of an Aging Lesbian

 We left Sequim yesterday to head back down to Palm Springs for the winter. Lunch was in Portland with my young grandchildren, then dinner in Eugene at Kirk Koenig’s house. Kirk always has friends around his table as he shares his gourmet talents. Lunch was a fun meal with lively kid chat which filled my heart. Dinner was lively adult chat with caring, smart, sweet friends…just like the evening before in Sequim when we had dinner at Rene and Bev’s house with new cherished friends. I feel very blessed to have such wonderful people in my life…

 Gratitude Day 4

Today, family and friends abound in my life and I’m grateful for each one. I remember with gratitude the many people with whom I’ve crossed paths, some fondly, some not so much. Each interaction guided me onto this path I currently walk.

I learned recently that I’m not getting older. I’m chronological gifted! Gratitude indeed!

I invite you to add that for which you are grateful today.

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…

Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – NOVEMBER 4

1929, India – Shakuntala Devi (4 November 1929 – 21 April 2013) is born. She was an Indian writer and mental calculator, popularly known as the “human computer.” A child prodigy, her talent earned her a place in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records. As a writer, Devi wrote a number of books, including novels as well as texts about mathematics, puzzles, and astrology. She wrote the first study of homosexuality in India, The World of Homosexuals. It treated homosexuality in an understanding light and Devi is considered a pioneer in the field. In the documentary For Straights Only, she said that her interest in the topic came out of her marriage to a homosexual man and her desire to look at homosexuality more closely to understand it.

1946 – Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) is born. He was known for his sensitive yet blunt treatment of controversial subject matter in the large-scale, highly stylized black and white medium of photography. His most controversial work is that of the underground BDSM scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s of New York City. The homoeroticism of this work fueled a national debate over the public funding of controversial artwork.

1955 – Essex Hemphill (April 16, 1957 – November 4, 1995) was an openly gay American poet and activist. He is known for his contributions to the Washington, D.C. art scene in the 1980s, and for openly discussing topics pertinent to the African-American gay community. In the 1990s, Hemphill would rarely give information about his health, although he would occasionally talk about “being a person with AIDS.” It was not until 1994 that he wrote about his experiences with the disease in his poem “Vital Signs.” He died on November 4, 1995, of AIDS-related complications. After his death, on December 10, 1995, three organizations (Gay Men of African Descent(GMAD), Other Countries, and Black Nations/Queer Nations?) annouced a National Day of Remembrance for Essex Hemphill at New York City‘s Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center.

1960 – FDNY Firefighter, president emeritus of FireFLAG/EMT and LGBT Rights activist Tom Ryan (Nov. 4, 1960) is born. Ryan retired from FDNY in 2003 after a distinguished FDNY career, and is a hero of 9/11. He has worked tirelessly for the issues effecting LGBT Firefighters and Emergency Workers, continues to speak out on issues of homophobia in the fire services, the rights of domestic partners, and discrimination toward the gay community. 

1976 – Syndicated columnist Nicholas von Hoffman’s piece entitled “Out of TV’s Sitcom Closet” appears. It stated that Americans were experiencing the “Year of the Fag” and claimed the National Gay Task Force was controlling at least one sitcom.

1980 – Barney Frank (born March 31, 1940) (D, Mass.) is elected to his first term in the US House of Representatives. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013. As a member of the Democratic Party, he served as chair of the House Financial Services Committee (2007–2011) and was a leading co-sponsor of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act, a sweeping reform of the U.S. financial industry. Frank is considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States.

2008 – California voters ban same-sex marriage with Proposition 8, becoming the first U.S. state to do so after marriages had been legalized for same-sex couples. The amendment to California’s constitution passed by a margin of 52% to 47% and overturned the state supreme court’s ruling in May in favor of same-sex marriage.

2008 – Arizona and Florida voters pass constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.

2008 – Arkansas voters pass Act 1, which effectively bans adoption by same-sex couples, by a margin of 54% to 41%. Florida had done so in 1978.

Stand up, speak out, share your story!




(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at,, #LavenderEffect,, #ArronsGayInfo, #AllThingsQueer, #RSLevinson, #AmaraDasWilhelm,, #SafeSchoolsCoalition, 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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