Today In Gay History September 20th: The Battle of The Sexes, The Saint NYC, DOMA and DADT
1973: Out tennis player Billie Jean King squared off against Bobby Riggs in what the press dubbed the “Battle of the Sexes.” King went on to defeat Riggs and made history for women in sports. Billie Jean King was still in the closet when she won the match against Riggs and her sexuality would not become public until may of May 1981 when a ‘palimony’ lawsuit filed by her longtime secretary and girlfriend, Marilyn Barnet.
1980: Love Sensation by Loleatta Holloway goes to #1 on Billboard’s dance chart.
1980 – Opening night at “The Saint”, New York’s premier gay dance club of the located in the East Village neighborhood of the Manhattan. The Saint was opened by Bruce Mailman and his business partner and his architectural designer, Charles Terrell and was as financed in large part by Mailman’s other gay venture, the nearby St. Marks Baths. Several times during the year, themed parties such as the “Black Party” and the “White Party” attracted celebrities from around the world. These Saint parties are considered by most disco historians to be the precursors to the circuit party and were attended by thousands of gay men each year. The Saint closed its doors in 1988 but the “Black Party” and the “White Party”lives on.
1996: President Bill Clinton announced he would be signing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law, thus making marriage federally recognized as being only between one man and one woman. At the time Clinton stated, “…this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination, violence or intimidation against any person on the basis of sexual orientation.” (Yeah, right!) Clinton later flipped on the issue, and stated he regretted signing DOMA into law. But NEVER apologized to the LGBT Community for doing so.
2011: After 18 years the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the ruling that kept lesbian, gay and bisexual people from openly serving in the military, was repealed. The transgender cocommunity was once again shamelessly left out.