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Gay History timeline


1860 – American author and art collector Edward Perry Warren was born on this date. Under the pseudonym Arthur Lyon Raile, he wrote a three-volume 60,000-word “Defence of Uranian Love.” He also wrote poetry and novels on the same subject, notably “Itamos: A Volume of Poems,” and “A Tale of Pausanian Love,” about homosexuality at Oxford.

1903 – Birth date of French author Marguerite Yourcenar Her first novel, “Alexis”, was published in 1929. Translator Grace Frick, invited her to America, where she lectured in comparative literature in New York City. She and Frick became lovers in 1937, and remained together until Frick’s death in 1979. In 1951 Yourcenar published the French-language novel “Memoires d’Hadrien” (Memoirs of Hadrian), which was an immediate success and met with great critical acclaim.

1923 – Malcolm Boyd, the first openly gay clergyman in a mainstream U.S. church, was born in Manhattan on this date. After a few years in the film business, Boyd entered the Episcopal seminary in 1951 and was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1955. He traced his difficulties in his autobiography, “Take Off the Masks” (1978).

1956 – The case of Clackum vs. United States was brought to court. The plaintiff had been a reservist in the US Air Force and was given an other-than-honorable discharge after she refused to resign following accusations of homosexual activity. The court ruled that there was no reason to change the type of discharge. She was deprived of the rights and benefits of an honorably discharged service member.

1972 – Camille Mitchell of San Jose, California became the first openly lesbian mother to be granted custody of her children in a divorce proceeding. The judge ordered her not to live with her lover and only see her lover during times when her children were at school or visiting their father.

1974 – Lambda Rising bookstore opened in Washington, DC.

1975 – Members of the gay rights group GATE appeared before a Parliamentary Committee in Toronto on Immigration and called for dropping all references to homosexuality in Immigration Act.

1977 – 10,000 demonstrators marched in NYC to protest the repeal of the gay rights ordinance in Miami the day before. Composer Paul Williams and his wife took out a full-page ad in Variety supporting a boycott of Florida orange juice, the product for which hate-monger Anita Bryant did commercials.

1977 – Florida’s homophobic governor, Reubin Askew, signed into law a bill forbidding same-sex marriage and the adoption of children by homosexuals. It took more than three decades to overturn the adoption ban.

1984 – Homosexuality was declared legal in the state of New South Wales, Australia.

1988 – Dennis Shere was fired from the “Dayton Daily News” in Ohio for refusing to accept an ad by a gay organization for a health seminar and legal services.

1989 – Composer Louis Weingarden died of complications from AIDS at age 45.

2000 – Outspoken Irish-born singer Sinead O’Connor, 33, said in a letter to the UK’s “Hot Press” recording industry magazine, “I am a lesbian. I love men but I prefer sex with women and I prefer romantic relationships with women.”

2003 – New Hampshire Episcopalians elected Gene Robinson to be their bishop, making him the first openly gay bishop in the worldwide Anglican Church and sparking a controversy that continues today.

2005 – Colorful rainbow flags, symbols of gay pride, began flying over the historic Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, Fla. after a federal judge ruled against city leaders who had turned down several requests by a local LGBT group to fly the flags.

2007 – The Department of Defense announced that the homophobic chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, would be replaced in September. Pace had stirred controversy by saying that homosexuality is immoral and the military should not condone it by allowing gays to serve openly.

2007 – In an essay in the New York Times magazine, ex-Navy petty officer Stephen Baldwin wrote about the pain of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy of discharging gays from the military: “As the friends I once served with head off to 15-month deployments, I regret I’m not there to lessen their burden and to serve my country. I’m trained to fight, I speak Arabic and I’m willing to serve. No recruiter needs to make a persuasive argument to sign me up. I’m ready, and I’m waiting.”

About the author

Will Kohler has written 6649 articles on this blog.

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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