October 17 in LGBTQ History
1960: Emmy Winning choreographer Rob Marshall is born in Madison, Wisconsin.
1995: For the first time in its history, the United Nations considers lesbian and gay rights abuses at its International Tribunal on Human Rights Violations Against Sexual Minorities. Following testimony from a number of women and men who have suffered abuse ranging from torture to forced institutionalization, the tribunal recommends that the UN document sexual orientation and gender identity issues around the world and integrate them into the organization’s human rights agenda.
1535: According to Quist, the Pope wrote a letter to his son, Duke Pier Luigi Farnese, on this day that scolded him for “having male lovers with him on an official mission to the court of the Emperor.” This LGBT history app cites the book Who’s Who in Gay and Lesbian History as the source. Though the culture of the Catholic Church may slowly be changing, historically the religious faith hasn’t been the most tolerant of LGBT individuals.
1980: The first Black Lesbian Conference took place in San Francisco, California. A development stemming from the first National Third World Lesbian and Gay Conference held in Washington, D.C., the previous year, over 200 women were in attendance. One of the conference goals was reportedly to address the wide spectrum of needs for black lesbians and “to provide the courage and strength necessary to make those needs felt in places where it becomes necessary.” Angela Davis gave the conference’s keynote address.
1995: The Advocate published a ground-breaking interview with Barney Frank, Steve Gunderson and Gerry Studds — the three openly gay members of congress at that time. Barney Frank has consistently remained one of the most outspoken and influential gay politicians to this date.
1998: The National Gay and Lesbian Law Association appointed Melinda Whiteway as co-chair of the organization, making her the first openly transgender person to hold the position. This is reportedly the only queer law association to be affiliated with the American Bar Association.
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