Stories

Sample stories as they appear in the app, ordered here by month.

February 26, 1649 – Christina of Sweden Abdicated the Throne

Christina has “an insurmountable distaste for marriage […and] for all the things that females talked about and did.” Citing her wish not to marry, she resigns as Queen on this day. Her nickname had been the “Girl King” and when Christina is fourteen, her tutor remarks, “She is not at all like a female.”

March 12, 1995 – Same-Sex Couple Married in Cambodia

Khav Sokha and Pum Eth are married in the village of Kro Bao Ach Kok. Sokha says, “The authorities thought it was strange, but they agreed to tolerate it because I have three children already (from a previous marriage). They said that if we were both single (and childless), we would not be allowed to get married because we could not produce children.” The wedding has about 250 guests, including Buddhist monks and high officials from the province.

March 15, 599 – “Men-corruptors” Blamed for Earthquake and Plague in Constantinople

The Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, Justinian I, writes Novella 141 on this day, claiming that homosexual acts are to blame for the natural disasters, as he had warned the year before.

March 15, 1811 – Beginning of Trial for Two Scottish Teachers Accused of Lesbian Acts

One of their students gives graphic testimony of what she witnessed: “She lay above Miss Pirie. And then Miss Woods began to move and she shook the bed [. . .] Miss Woods was breathing so high and so quick.” Another student came forward: “I believe her clothes were off and one lay above the other. Miss Pirie was uppermost. The bedclothes tossed about.” One of the judges hearing the case, Lord Meadowbank, stated that sex between women was “equally imaginary with witchcraft, sorcery or carnal copulation with the devil.”

April 17, 1725 – Leendert Hasenbosch Convicted of Sodomy

A Dutch employee of the Dutch East India Company, Hasenbosch is convicted on the ship after a stop in Capetown. The crew leaves him on Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean as punishment. He keeps a diary until he dies of thirst six months later. The diary is published in 1726 under the title Sodomy Punish’d.

May 18, 1970 – First Time Two Men File for a Marriage License in the United States

Richard Jack Baker and James M. McConnel hold a press conference announcing their plans to marry and go to the Minneapolis city clerk’s office. The clerk asks a lawyer’s opinion and hears that issuing the license would “result in an undermining and destruction of the entire legal concept of our family structure in all areas of law.” They sued, but their case was dismissed. The January 7, 1973 issue of the New York Times reports that McConnell adopted Baker in August 1971 “with the goal of securing tax and inheritance advantages.”

May 20, 1782 – Deborah Sampson Enlisted as Continental Soldier, Passing as a Man

She uses the name of her late brother, Robert Shurtliff Sampson, who had also served in the Continental Army. She serves in the Light Infantry Company of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment. In a battle on July 3, 1783, she receives two musket balls in her thigh and an enormous cut on her forehead. She begged her fellow soldiers to let her die and not take her to the hospital, but they refused to abandon her. The doctors treated her head wound, but she left the hospital before they could attend to the musket balls. Fearful that her true identity would be discovered, she removed one of the balls herself with a penknife and sewing needle, but her leg never fully healed because the other ball was too deep for her to reach. After serving for a year and a half, she is honorably discharged from the Army by General Henry Knox at West Point.

June 12, 1799 – Affectionate Letter from the Marquis de Lafayette to George Washington

The marquis writes: “There never was a friend, my dear general, so much, so tenderly beloved, as I love and respect you: happy in our union, in the pleasure of living near to you, in the pleasing satisfaction of partaking every sentiment of your heart, every event of your life, I have taken such a habit of being inseparable from you, that I cannot now accustom myself to your absence.” While there is no evidence that the two men were lovers, this and other letters describe a very intimate friendship. Expression of same-sex platonic love was not considered queer during this time.

July 1, 1943 – Thirteen Resistance Activists Shot by the Nazis

Three of the resistance members were gay: artist Willem Arondeus, tailor Sjoerd Bakker, and writer Johan Brouwer. The last wish of the leader, Arondeus, is that he be given a pink shirt. He declares: “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.”

July 20, 1822 – Bishop of Clogher Failed to Appear in Court on Sodomy Charge

The bishop, Percy Jocelyn, had been discovered having sex with a solider in an alehouse the night before. He is arrested, but it is possible he is allowed to escape to avoid the spectacle of the government prosecuting a clergymember. Jocelyn flees to Scotland and lives out his life under the name Thomas Wilson, working as a butler.

July 30, 1981 – Martina Navratilova Outed by New York Daily News Article

The article is called “Martina Fears Avon’s Call If She Talks.” Navratilova had spoken months earlier with the writer of the article about her sexual relationship with Rita Mae Brown, and Navratilova had asked him not to go public. He quotes her in the article: “If I come out and start talking, women’s tennis is going to be hurt. I have heard that if I come out—if one more top player talks about this—then Avon will pull out as a sponsor.” Avon pulled out as a sponsor the next year.

October 16, 961 – Al-Hakam II Becomes the Caliph of Cordoba

He rules in Al-Andalus as an open homosexual until his death in 975. He kept a male harem, which was a problem since it was essential for the Caliph to produce an heir. A resolution was reached by having the female concubine and sultana Subh dress in boys’ clothes and use the masculine name of Jafar. They had a son, Hisham II, who succeeded Al-Hakam and who also kept a male harem.

October 19, 1901 – Alberto Santos-Dumont Flew His Aircraft, the #6, around Eiffel Tower

Two years before the Wright Brothers’ flight, the gay Brazilian aviation pioneer demonstrates that routine, controlled flight is possible. He wins the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize on this day for flying his dirigible from the Parc Saint Cloud to the Eiffel Tower and back in less than thirty minutes, necessitating an average ground speed of at least 22 km/h (14 mph) to cover the round trip distance of 11 km (6.8 mi) in the allotted time. He donates most of the prize money to the poor of Paris, and the rest to his crew as a bonus.

November 16, 1730 – Hans Hermann von Katte Executed in Prussia

Frederick the Great (Fredrick II of Prussia) was very close with, and thought to be lovers with, Katte. They planned to escape Prussia together, but were discovered. The court sentenced Katte to life in prison and refused to judge the prince. Fredrick’s father thought this too lenient and ordered Katte executed and Fredrick imprisoned. Frederick was awakened at 5:00 AM and told to look out his prison window at the execution of Katte. He called out to him “My dear Katte, a thousand pardons.” Katte called back, “My prince, there is nothing to apologize for” just before he was beheaded.

November 27, 1999 – World’s First Transgender Member of Parliament Takes Office

Georgina Beyer is also the first transgender mayor in the world. She said in a December 2002 interview: “I get asked questions no other politician would ever have to answer. Regarding the surgery, you know. ‘Did it hurt?’, or, ‘When you have sex now as a woman, is it different to how you had sex as a man?’ Well, honey, obviously.”

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