May 19 in LGBTQ History

1973: An officially sanctioned gay student dance at Princeton University draws three hundred participants.

1975: Gay porn phenomenon “Jack Wrangler” is born when a sometimes struggling twenty-eight-year-old actor, Jack Stillman, steps onstage between porn films at the Paris Theater in Los Angeles and performs a live striptease in Western drag.  The son of an established show business family (his father was one of the producers of Bonanza), Stillman takes his screenname “Wrangler” from the famous brand of cowboy jeans.

1983: Two years into the AIDS epidemic, ABC’s 20/20 does its first story on the crisis.  A producer at the network acknowledges that the show’s executives refused for more than a year to do a story on the disease, but changed their minds when they suddenly heard “reports of infants getting it.”

1989: First Lady Barbara Bush ignores the reportedly vociferous objections of Chief of Staff John Sununu and prominently displays ten lit candles in the windows of the White House to show her solidarity with the Seventh International AIDS Candlelight Memorial in Washington, D.C. Organizers of the march had asked people in the capital to burn candles in their windows to Commemorate friends and loved ones they have lost to the disease.

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