This Month in Queer History: September 2012

Amsterdam's Homomonument, unveiled Aug. 1987.

Let’s start things off right by wishing a happy birthday to the following queerlebrities (who seem to slant heavily toward musicians Gen X lesbians listened to in college):

Actress Greta Garbo (1905), actor and author Truman Capote (1924), actress Lily Tomlin (1939), author and activist Gloria E Anzaldua (1942), musician Freddie Mercury (1946), author and activist Leslie Feinberg (1949), author and activist Cherrie Moraga (1952), cartoonist Alison Bechdel, author Jacob Anderson-Minshall (1967), musician Ani DiFranco (1970), musician Melissa Ferrick (1970), musician Mirah (1974), musician and actress Carrie Brownstein (1974), musicians Tegan & Sara Quinn (1980).

A big anniversary we’re celebrating for the first time this month is the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (2011). Norway opened up its military to gays and lesbians in September as well, seven years prior (1994).

In the revolving door of same-sex marriage rights, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in California, and Maine and Vermont legalized marriage equality (2009).

Further from home, progressive Amsterdam unveiled it’s Homomonument (1987).

Next up: History that shows just how much things have changed.

Back in the not-so-distant dark days when it was basically illegal to be gay in the United States, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a prisoner for consensual sodomy with his cellmate (1968) and a California appellate court upheld a disorderly conduct conviction of two men for kissing in their car — the chaos! — in 1976. You see, it was the job of the government at the time to ensure that citizens only engaged in baby-making sexual activities. That’s why when two male members of California Governor Ronald Reagan’s cabinet were found to be having an affair they were forced out of their jobs and Reagan is believed to have said, “My god, has government failed?” (1967).

In true failures of government, many gay men are burned at the stake, including an effigy of the absent Marquis de Sade (1772), 22 men in the Netherlands (1731), and Belgian sculptor Jérome Duquesnoy (1654).

Sources: On This Gay Day ( and the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific NW ( Sodomy Laws Calendar