June 22 in LGBTQ History

1969: Gay icon Judy Garland dies of an overdose at the age of 47. Four days later, on June 26, 1969, her remains are taken (by her fifth husband, Mickey Deans) to New York City, where an estimated 20,000 people lined up for hours at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel in Manhattan to pay their respects. Apocrophal stories claim that it was grief over Garland’s death that spurred the riots that took place at New York’s Stonewall Inn the following night, but these rumors are unfounded and were spread by mainstream media at the time as a speculative justification of why homosexuals in the city would riot.

1982: Singer Johnny Mathis officially comes out in an interview in Us magazine. “Homosexuality is a way of life that I’ve grown accustomed to,” he tells the magazine. “What’s the big deal about my sexuality? … And what does it have to do with the art of making beautiful music?”

1990: The Empire State Building is lit up in lavender lights for three days in honor of Gay Pride Week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *