Today In Gay History – June 3nd: 18th Century Lesbians, Hollywood Gay Bashing, Ginsberg and MORE
1708 – Anne Horton and Alice Pickford were married in England. They were one of two female couples whose marriages were registered in the parish of Taxal, Except for the notation in the records no other information is available on the Sapphic couple. .
1926 – Birth date of poet Allen Ginsberg one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. Ginsberg vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression. Ginsberg is best known for his epic poem “Howl”, in which he denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States.
In 1957, “Howl” attracted widespread publicity when it became the subject of an obscenity trial, as it depicted heterosexual and homosexual sex at a time when sodomy laws made homosexual acts a crime in every U.S. state. “Howl” reflected Ginsberg’s own homosexuality and his relationships with a number of men, including Peter Orlovsky, his lifelong partner. Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that “Howl” was not obscene, adding, “Would there be any freedom of press or speech if one must reduce his vocabulary to vapid innocuous euphemisms? (Yes the straight judge said “vapid”.)
Allen Ginsberg passed away April 5, 1997.
1930 – American fantasy novelist Marion Zimmer Bradley was born on this date. Early in her career, writing as Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter, and Lee Chapman, she produced several works outside the speculative fiction genre, including some gay and lesbian pulp fiction novels.
1936 – William Haines and his lover James Shield were severely beaten by members of the White Legion, a Los Angeles racist organization.
In 1930 William Haines was Hollywood’s number-one box-office draw–talented, handsome, and a romantic lead. Off-screen however Haines was openly gay and refused to compromise or hide his sexuality which ultimately led him to being booted out of the movie business by Louis B. Mayer. Forced to give up acting, Haines went on to become a top interior designer to the stars and by his side through it all was his lover, Jimmie Shields; But on June 1st 1936 members of a white supremacists group dragged both Haines and Sheilds from their El Porto, Manhattan Beach home and beat them, mercilessly because a neighbor had accused the two of propositioning his son. The incident was widely reported at the time but Manhattan Beach police never brought charges against the couple’s attackers. The child molestation accusations against Haines and Shields were unfounded and the case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence..
The couple finally settled in the Hollywood community of Brentwood and their business prospered until their retirement in the early 1970s, except for a brief interruption when Haines served in World War II . Their clients included Betsy Bloomingdale, Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Walter and Leonore Annenberg’s “Sunnylands” estate
Haines and Shields remained together until Haines’ death in 1973. Their fifty-year relationship led their best friend, Joan Crawford, to call them the “happiest married couple in Hollywood.”
1967 – Birth date of glass closeted/now out Anderson Cooper.
1969 – Police entered Greenwich Village in New York with fifteen paddy wagons and arrested anyone they suspected of being gay. Police harassment is common place in the Village and tensions are on the rise and will continue to until the end of the month when the Stonewall Riots occur
1980 – In California, gay rights measures were defeated in Davis, San Jose, and Santa Clara in referendum elections.
1981 – A Maryland court upheld the state sodomy law, including prohibitions against heterosexual sodomy. The written decision included quotes from Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Exodus.
1984 – Harvey Fierstein won his third Tony Award for best book of a musical for “La Cage Aux Folles”.
1989 – The United States postal service issues the first “Lesbian and Gay Pride” postage stamp.
1998 – United Methodists in Central Texas voted to reject a proposal to break ties with church leaders who support same-sex unions and the ordination of homosexuals.
2007 – Several hundred gays marched in the Latvian capital city of Riga under the watchful eyes of police who in 2006 were accused of doing nothing while gays were attacked by anti-gay fascists.