lgbt history

  • RENO, Nev. (AP) — Reno's decision to temporarily replace the Stars and Stripes with a rainbow didn't fly with some locals.

  • MARYVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — A resolution asking God to have mercy on a Tennessee county for issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples apparently didn't have a prayer of being considered Tuesday.

  • On July 4, 1965, John James traveled to Philadelphia to march among a group of gay and lesbian demonstrators calling for liberty for LGBT people. Nearly 50 years later, James is again surrounded by LGBT people in the City of Brotherly Love — this time in a very changed world.

  • An earlier version of this article appeared in “Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context,” edited by Vern L. Bullough, Harrington Park, 2002.

  • Robert Patrick is the author of “Kennedy’s Children” and “The Haunted Host,” one of America’s oldest gay plays, now celebrating its 50th anniversary. He was one of the leading lights of the Off-Off Broadway, fringe and gay-theatre movements in the United States. When he was younger, he made the mistake of selling his copyrights and now, at age 76, he survives in Los Angeles by writing porn reviews, even though he is still very creative and supportive of gay theatre arts.

  • ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Police in St. Petersburg on Sunday detained several gay activists who have held pickets in defense of gay rights on a Russian military holiday.

  • HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Same-sex couples who got married before a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania's ban can keep their original anniversary date.

  • South Florida school districts voiced their support this month for the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

  • A National Park Service project has identified hundreds of potential LGBT sites across America that could someday win federal landmark status.

  • DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A Senegalese activist and a rights group called for the release of seven men arrested in July and sentenced to six months in prison for homosexual acts Aug. 28.

  • A San Francisco supervisor has vowed to landmark the home where the late lesbian pioneering couple Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin lived throughout most of their 54 years together. 

  • October marks LGBT History Month, which started in 1994 by a Missouri high school teacher, Rodney Wilson. Wilson sought out other teachers and community leaders for his effort and they chose October because school was in session and it coincided with National Coming Out Day on October 11.

  • WASHINGTON (AP) — Hundreds of photographs, papers and historical objects documenting the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are being added to the Smithsonian Institution’s collection Tuesday, including items from the popular TV show “Will and Grace.”

  • As October comes to a close, so does LGBT History month.

  • The Stonewall National Museum & Archives (SNMA) in Fort Lauderdale recently received a $50,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to digitize its collection and update information systems. 

  • In 1989, U.S. Army Col. Margarethe (Grethe) Cammermeyer was undergoing a routine security clearance interview when she said four simple words: “I am a lesbian.” At the time, she was a highly decorated nurse and war hero on track to becoming a general.

  • TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — In 1972, Jim Gaylord was a social studies teacher at Tacoma's Wilson High School.

  • San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood has a colorful history and was once the center of gay life in San Francisco. Grittier than the Castro, which in the late 1970s overtook "The Loin," as it's sometimes called, as the city's gay hub, the neighborhood just blocks away from City Hall also has a well-worn reputation for drug dealing, robbery and other crimes. It's home to some of the city's poorest residents, many of whom are living with HIV and stay in the district's single-room occupancy hotels.

  • On Saturday, April 11, 1953, nearly 70 gay men packed into a small four-room house at 2117 South 19th Street in Waco, Texas, about 10 blocks from Baylor University. David Owen, a ministerial student at the Baptist school, had invited the men to attend the gathering, which was billed as an “interstate convention” that would culminate in a mock wedding ceremony for two men, one of whom would dress in drag as the bride. 

  • One day in early December 1974 a crowd of passengers lined up to board the cruise ship Renaissance docked in Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades. Typically there would be nothing exceptional about this sight.

  • For many people, their memories of their college years are filled with football games, parties, and cramming for exams. For others, it’s horrific flashbacks of being stalked on campus, hours of interrogation, and questioning if everyone they interacted with was an investigator.

  • Before graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1985, Paula Neira had difficulties accepting she was trans.

  • June 18, 1983 — Sally Rides Becomes First American Woman in Space

    Two Soviet women had gone into space before her. Ride is a member of the crew on the space shuttle Challenger for STS-7. She had a female partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy.

  • June 4, 1464 — Henry IV Deposed in Effigy

    Henry (half-brother of Queen Isabel) is called a "puto" (male prostitute) at his symbolic public dethronement in "The Farce of Avila."

  • January 8 — Harvey Milk Took Office — 1978

    The Mayor of Castro Street had been elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, representing District 5.

  • Jan. 15, 1926 — Greenwich Village Ball Held

    Extravagant LGBTQ balls at Webster Hall at 119 East 11th Street are common during the 1920's. This affair is billed as the 15th annual ball and the advertisement reads “Come [...] with whom you like -- wear what you like -- Unconventional? Oh, to be sure -- Only do be discreet!”

    Jan. 16, 1967 — Louisiana Supreme Court Rules Lesbian Sex is Also Illegal

    The court rules that the state's statutory ban on "unnatural carnal copulation" applies to women engaged in oral sex with other women.

    Jan. 17, 1999 — Death of Robert Eads from Ovarian Cancer

    More than two dozen doctors had refused to treat Eads, a transman, on the grounds that taking him on as a patient might harm their practice. His story was documented in Southern Comforts.

    Jan. 18, 1977 — Anti-Discrimination Law Passed by Dade County

    The ordinance that would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation passes by a vote of 5-3. Anita Bryant leads the effort to repeal.

    Jan. 19, 1901 — New York Times Reports Murray Hall's Story

    Murray Hall had lived as a male politician for decades, and was discovered to be female-bodied after Hall died of breast cancer. The headline reads: "Murray Hall Fooled Many Shrewd Men - How for Years She Masqueraded in Male Attire - Had Married Two Women."

    Jan. 20, 1993 — Melissa Etheridge Came Out as Lesbian

    She does so during the Triangle Ball, an LGBTQ-focused celebration of President Clinton's inauguration.

    Jan. 21, 2013 — First Presidential Mention of Gay Rights in an Inaugural Address

    The text of President Obama's Inauguration speech reads: "It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. [. . .] Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- (applause) -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

    The unsigned two-page article includes statements such as ?Homosexuality is a pathetic little second-rate substitute for reality, a pitiable flight from life. [. . .] it deserves no encouragement [. . .] no pretense that it is anything but a pernicious sickness.?

    Jan. 22, 1957 — Death of Cabaret Singer Claire Waldoff

    Waldorff had lived openly as a lesbian in Germany her entire life. She lived with her partner, Olga von Roeder, enjoying their time in 1920s Berlin together. Shortly after Claire's death, Olga says "life for me has no content anymore. [. . .] We were joined by forty years of our being together just so intimately with each other than ever that this gap could be filled in for me. Actually we just lived one for the other. [. . .] I would be happy if my ashes already could rest with Claire's ashes in peace." They share their final resting place in Stuttgart.

    All of the information above has been reprinted with permission from Quist, an LGBT mobile history app that can be found on iOS and Android devices. Visit for more information. The app was created by Sarah Prager and launched in July of 2013.