“Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything.”

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Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, pen name Nellie Bly (May 5, 1864 – January 27, 1922), was one of, if not the first investigative journalists in the United States.

Cochrane was born in Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh, which her father Judge Cochrane founded. She was one of fifteen children born to her father and his two wives. When she was fifteen, he died intestate, leaving the family with little money. Her journalistic career began after Erasmus Wilson published an article “The Quiet Observer” in his Pittsburgh Dispatch, denouncing women in the workforce. Cochrane, calling herself the “Lonely Orphan Girl,” angrily responded that there needed to be a wider definition of a “woman’s sphere,” especially for those who had to support their families. Editor George Madden ran a notice asking the “Orphan Girl” to contact him, and he gave her a job. She joined the staff, signing her articles “Nellie Bly.”

She earned $5 per week, writing a “women’s column” for the Pittsburgh Dispatch on home, gardening, society, child-rearing and other similar topics. Eventually, she began to write about more serious issues, including investigating how divorce affected women. In time, her journalistic talents earned her $25,000 per year.

She soon moved to New York to pursue other subjects and freelanced for several months. Then she wrote a piece on the difficulty of female reporters had finding work in New York, in which she interviewed the great editors of the time. This led to her first assignment with the New York World, where Joseph Pulitzer had begun what became known as “new journalism.” He wanted Bly to pretend to be insane to get committed to the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s (now Roosevelt) Island. Bly stayed there for ten days and wrote a two-part series in October 1887 about the horrendous conditions. This was the beginning of a decades of “stunt” reporting, a predecessor to investigative journalism. This genre allowed women to demonstrate that they could also be reporters, and they became the first women to enter mainstream journalism in the twentieth century.

Bly went on to investigate employment agencies for domestic servants, the baby-buying trade and corruption in the New York legislature. But her biggest feat was yet to come. In November 1889, Bly began the journey that would cement her fame. She beat the fictional record of Jules Verne’s Phineas Fogg, in his novel Around the World in 80 Days when she made the trip in 72 days 6 hours 11 minutes. She chronicled her journey in New York World. But when she was not rewarded for her efforts, Bly quit and accepted a three-year contract for N.L Munro’s New York Family Story Paper writing serial fiction. This proved unsuccessful and she returned to the World in 1893, interviewing Emma Goldman and Eugene V. Debs, and covering stories such as the march of Jacob Coxey’s Army on Washington and the Pullman strike in Chicago.

She left the World a for the last time in 1895 and after a short time at the Chicago Times-Herald, she married Robert Livingston Seaman who was more than forty years older. The marriage lasted nine years until Seaman died. During that time, Bly took over his iron enamel-ware firm, the Iron Clad Manufacturing Co. and patented, manufactured, and marketed the steel barrel in the United States. While Bly was hopeless at finances and eventually lost the company, the Iron Clad Manufacturing Co. gave its employees health benefits and provided recreational facilities.

To earn some money, Bly went to Vienna in August 1914 where she stayed until 1919, writing for the New York Evening Journal from the Russian and Serbian fronts. After the war, she returned to New York and wrote for the Evening Journal, running an advice column. Her most celebrated work was placing illegitimate children in good homes and campaigning for seamen who were having trouble finding work.

Bly died of pneumonia in 1922 at 57.

Her experiences are chronicled in her many books, including: Six Months in Mexico (1886), Ten Days in a Madhouse (1887), The Mystery of Central Park (1889), and Nellie Bly’s Book: Around the World in Seventy-two Days (1890).

In 2018, the Newseum opened its “Nellie Bly: The Virtual Reality Experience” which tracks Bly from Egypt to Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, San Francisco and her adventures, including a snowstorm in Singapore that nearly impeded her progress. The exhibit provides background on Bly’s previous reporting and chronicles accomplishments in the women’s rights movement.

This is the Newseum’s second exhibit on Bly. The first was a 4-D introductory film (now playing only in 2-D), which recounts the undercover operation in 1887.

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On January 25, 1881, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell founded the world’s first telephone company, the Oriental Telephone Company. Though he was credited with inventing the first telephone, the United States Congress recognized in 2002 that it was Antonio Meucci, an Italian immigrant, who invented the telephone. He began developing the talking telegraph, or telephone in 1849. In 1871, he filed a caveat (announcing an invention), but could not review his caveat. On June 11, 2002, the Unite States House of Representatives passed a Resolution honoring Meucci’s work.

Thirty-four years after founding the Oriental Telephone Company, on January 25, 1915, Alexander Graham Bell made the first transcontinental telephone call, from New York City to San Francisco, more than 4,023 kilometers (2,500 miles) away.

When Bell made the call to Watson, his former assistant, he was asked to re-enact the first conversation they had on March 10, 1876, when Bell said, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you.” However, there is some discrepancy as to whether Bell said, “Watson, come here, I want you,” or “Come here, I need you.” Though that might be a fiction, as Bell had just spilled battery acid on himself before summoning Watson. This time Watson replied, “It would take me a week now.”

“The legal world does not discriminate by sex or race and this is possibly an example of it working rather well.”

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On January 4, 1972, Dame Rose Heilbron (August 19 1914-December 8 2005) became the first female judge to sit at the Old Bailey in London, England.

Heilbron was born into a Jewish family in Liverpool Her father was a hotelier who managed a lodging house for Jewish émigrés. Her mother, Nellie, who died in 1939, encouraged her educational ambitions.

She achieved a number of firsts for women during her legal education and career. She graduated from Liverpool University in 1935 with a first-class honours degree in law and became first woman to win a scholarship to Gray’s Inn the next year, when she received the Lord Justice Holker scholarship. In 1937, she received a master of laws degree and joined the bar in 1939, as a member of the northern circuit.

Through the six years of World War II, and afterward, Heilbron’s career rose. By 1946, Heilbron had appeared in 10 murder trials. In 1949, at 34, Heilbron and Helena Normanton, who was nearly twice her age, became the first women king’s counsel. That year, Heilbron became the first woman to lead in an English murder case. She defended the gangster George Kelly, accused of shooting and killing the deputy manager of the Cameo cinema in Liverpool. Kelly was convicted and hanged, but through the first half of the 1950s, Heilbron successfully defended many of her clients. One case involved four men accused of hanging a boy during a burglary, which she proved that it had been an accident, and another was Louis Bloom the Hartlepool solicitor accused of murdering his mistress in his office.

In 1956, she became the first woman recorder (chief criminal judge) of Burnley, in Britain, and the first woman judge at the Old Bailey in 1972. Two years later, she was created a dame in 1974. From 1974 until she retired in 1988 she served as a Judge of the High Court (Family Division), the second British woman to be appointed to the High Court. In 1985, she became treasurer at Gray’s Inn, saying of her appointment, “The legal world does not discriminate by sex or race and this is possibly an example of it working rather well.”

Her daughter Hilary Heilbron has written a book about her, Legal Pioneer of the 20th Century: Inspiring Advocate who became England’s First Woman Judge published in 2012.

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On January 4, 2007, the 110th United States Congress convened, electing Nancy Pelosi (Born: March 26, 1940) as the first female Speaker of the House. Her family has served in public positions. Her father and brother were both Baltimore mayors, and her father also served in the state Congress.

In 1976, she worked on California Governor Jerry Brown’s presidential campaign. By 1981, she was the Democratic Party chair for California, recruiting candidates and raising funds. The following year, States Representative Sala Burton of California – a Polish émigré who fled the Nazis and settled in America and filled her husband’s Congressional after he died suddenly – encouraged Pelosi to run for her seat after she died. Pelosi filled the vacancy in 1987 and has been re-elected to sixteen succeeding Congresses (June 2, 1987-present).

Pelosi has served on the House Appropriations and Intelligence committees, and was the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Operations committee. In 2001, she was promoted to the House Democratic whip, the second highest position in the party. She rose to minority leader in 2002 when Dick Gephardt stepped, becoming the first woman to ever lead a party in Congress.

In 2006, Pelosi became the first female speaker of the House and was sworn in on January 4, 2007. But she lost her position to Republican John Boehner in 2010 when Democrats lost control of the House. Under Pelosi, the 111th Congress (January 3, 2009, until January 3, 2011) became “one of the most productive Congresses in history” by Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein.

“Seldom, very seldom does complete truth belong to any human disclosure”

Yohl Ikʻnal, also known as Lady Kan Ik and Lady K’anal Ik’nal, whose name means “Lady Heart of the Wind Place,” (Died November 4, 604) acceded to the throne on December 23, 583, as queen of the Maya city-state of Palenque until she died in 604. She was the first female ruler of Lakam Ha (Palenque).

She was most likely the daughter of Kan Bahla I, who had preceded her, or perhaps his sister. During her reign, her rival Kalakmul attacked twice, but she defeated him. She had at least one son, Ajen Ohl Mat, who succeeded her on January 1, 605 and ruled until he died on August 8, 612.

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Jane Austen’s fourth novel (after Sense and Sensibility in 1811, Pride and Prejudice in 1813, and Mansfield Park in 1814) Emma was published on December 23, 1815. Austen wrote Emma from January 21, 1814 to March 29, 1815. Instead of using the same publisher as she had for Mansfield Park, Austen went to John Murray, The Quarterly Review publisher. Some of his clients include Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage in 1811 and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1859.

Although the novel went on sale on December 23, 1815, as it was so close to the end of the year, the publication date on the title page is listed as 1816. As she had with her previous novels, Austen published Emma anonymously, and the title page reads, “by the Author of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ etc, etc.” However, there was a difference in this work: a dedication to the Prince of Wales, who admired her work, though Austen disliked him. She had met him and his librarian, James Stanier-Clarke while visiting her brother a few months earlier. During a tour of Carlton House, Stanier-Clarke wrote that Austen “was at liberty to dedicate any future work” to the Regent.

A few weeks before Emma was published, Austen wrote to Murray, expressing concerns about how her novel would be received: “I am very strongly haunted by the idea that to those Readers who have preferred P&P. it will appear inferior in Wit, & to those who have preferred MP. very inferior in good Sense.” Her fears were somewhat justified, as some of her family liked it, some disliked it, and most thought it somewhere between Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. The public was also ambivalent about Emma and by October 1816, only 1,248 copies had been sold. Only in February 1817 did Austen finally received any profit from Emma, though a quarter of the print run still unsold.

While the plot, form, and technique were not revolutionary, its narrative was. Emma is a “self-deluded young woman with the leisure and power to meddle in the lives of her neighbours” and the narrative “was designed to share her delusions.” Not until the twentieth century did this style of writing have a name: free indirect style (from the French: style indirect libre), which “describes the way in which a writer imbues a third-person narration with the habits of thought or expression of a fictional character.”

Emma though unpopular initially has been turned into films, including Clueless released in 1995. It was announced in October 2018 that there will be remakes of both Emma and Clueless in the near future. The novel was adapted into Jane Austen’s Emma: The Musical, released in 2007.

“Civilization Not Yet Perfect”

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November is Native American Heritage Month and the day after the fourth Thursday – when Thanking Day is observed in the United States – is Native American Heritage Day. The first effort to establish a Native American Day began over a century ago. In 1911, Dr. Arthur Caswell (Gawasco Waneh), a Cattaraugus Seneca, director of the Rochester Museum of New York (now the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences) was one of the earliest advocates of creating a day to honor Native Americans. He was an anthropologist, historian, and author. His great-uncle was Brigadier General Ely S. Parker, General Ulysses S. Grant’s secretary during the Civil War and the first Native American to serve as Commissioner of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior.

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Dr. Parker founded several Native American rights organizations, including the Society of American Indians (SAI) in 1911 and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in 1944, and advocated for Native Americans to receive U.S. citizenship. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to honor “First Americans,” for a day which they did only from 1912 to 1915.

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In the spring of 1914, Reverend Red Fox James, also known as Red Fox Skiukusha, another Native American rights advocate, rode 4,000-miles on horseback to Washington, D.C., to petition the president for an “Indian Day.” The next year, he travelled on horseback from state to state seeking gubernatorial support for Native Americans to receive U.S. citizenship. 24 governors endorsed his petition, which he presented tot he White House on December 14, 1915.

That year, the Congress of American Indian Association met in Lawrence, Kansas and directed the president Reverend Sherman Coolidge (1862-1932), an Arapaho minister and one of the SAI founders, to call upon the nation to proclaim a day to honor Native Americans. On September 18, 1915, he issued a proclamation declaring the second Saturday of each May as “American Indian Day” and appealing for U.S. citizenship for American Indians.

The first time that “American Indian Day” was observed may have been in 1916 when the governor of New York declared the second Saturday in May as American Indian Day. Several states celebrated American Indian Day on the fourth Friday in September, including the Illinois state legislature in 1919. That year, Red Fox Skiukusha petitioned Washington state to designate the fourth Saturday in September as an “Indian holiday.” However, these efforts were unsuccessful.

It was not until 1924 that Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act, allowing Native Americans born in the United States, who were not covered by previous treaties or federal agreements to become citizens. The act was later amended to include Native Alaskans.

It would take several decades before Native American Day became more widespread. In 1968, California Governor Ronald Reagan designated the fourth Friday in September as American Indian Day, but it was not until 1998 that the California State Assembly enacted legislation making Native American Day as an official state holiday. In 1976, the country’s bicentennial year, Congress approved Senate Joint Resolution 209 authorizing President Ford to proclaim October 10-6 as “Native American Awareness Week” and he issued his presidential proclamation on October 8. Since 1976 Congress and the President have observed a day, week, or month, to honor Native American and Native Alaskans. In 2009, the Friday after Thanksgiving Day became “Native American Heritage Day.” In 1977, the holiday became inter nation when the United Nations sponsored the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas.

Proclamations celebrating Native American history and people have changed in name, number of days, dates, and length of the observance. President Ford designated May 13, 1983 as “American Indian Day” in 1983 and November 23-30, 1986 as “American Indian Week” before moving it to November 22-28, 1987 in 1987, and finally to September 23-30 in1988. President George H. W. Bush moved the observance again, issuing a proclamation on December 5, 1989, designating December 3-9, 1989 as “National American Indian Heritage Week” before declaring November as “National American Indian Heritage Month” in 1990. Finally, President Bush declared in 1991 that November would be “American Indian Heritage Month.”

In 1992, President Bush designated 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus arriving in the Americas, as the “Year of the American Indian” and declared that November as “National American Indian Heritage Month” which it is was called until 2009, when President Obama designated November as “National Native American Heritage Month.” In 2008, Congress designated the day after Thanksgiving, November 28, as “Native American Heritage Day.”

While there is no national theme, federal departments and agencies are allowed to create their own themes. Some of the themes that the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior have used include: “Tribal Diversity: Weaving Together Our Traditions” (2006), “Tribes Facing Challenges: In Unity, Transforming Hope into Strengths” (2008), and “Life is Sacred – Celebrate Healthy Native Communities” (2010).

Some cities and state governments have gone further. The South Dakota state legislature passed a bill in 1989 proclaiming 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation” between the state’s Native American and White citizens. As a result, South Dakota Governor George S. Mickelson designated Columbus Day as the state’s American Indian Day, making it a state-sanctioned holiday. Los Angeles, California voted in August 2017 to ‘dismantle a state-sponsored celebration of genocide of indigenous peoples.’

On Election Day 2018 (November 6), Democrats Sharice Davids of Kansas, a member of Wisconsin’s Ho-Chunk Nation tribe and Deb Haaland of New Mexico, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, became the first Native American women elected to Congress. Davids, a lesbian, made history for being the first openly LGBT person to represent Kansas in Congress. Native Americans of New Mexico were the last to be enfranchised in 1962, nearly forty years after the Indian Citizenship Act. Davids and Haaland join Oklahoma Reps. Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin in Congress.

“Word does not understand NaNoWriMo”

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo) is a month-long challenge to write 50,000 words of any writing style. NaNo began in July 1999 with Chris Baty and twenty others writing novels from scratch, ending on August 1. The following year, a friend built a website for the event to allow several hundred participants. By then NaNo had moved to November to “more fully take advantage of the miserable weather.” That year, there were 140 participants, including some from Canada. That year, a few guidelines – novels must be started from scratch, no co-authoring allowed and novels had to be emailed to headquarters for verification by midnight Pacific Time on November 30. 21 of the 140 completed their novels.

In its third year, thanks to an article in the Los Angeles Times, five thousand participated. With upgrades to the website, participants could now track their progress, and created forums. In it’s fourth year, participation grew exponentially and 14,000 signed up. The participation continued to grow and by 2012, there were 450,000 participants worldwide.

The program expanded to other endeavors. In 2004, the Cambodian Libraries program was established and NaNo gave 50% of its net profits, raising over $7,000 to establish three children’s libraries in different villages. NaNo became a nonprofit in 2008 under the name Office of Letters and Light so that it could also be involved in other projects, including Script Frenzy and the Young Writer’s Program.

Over the years, many authors including Veronica Roth (the Divergent series), Naomi Novik (the Temeraire series), Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia, Jacob Have I Loved, and The Great Gilly Hopkins) and Janet Fitch (White Oleander) have given pep talks to encourage participants.

Others have created similar projects including the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge launched in 2008 and Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo). Although most book published are genres such as fantasy, science fiction, and young adult, there are a few historical fiction novels, such as Jennifer S. Brown’s Modern Girls published in 2016,

While NaNo is geared toward fiction, there are “NaNo Rebels” who write in other genres including memoir, nonfiction, history, songs, and essays. Some historical fiction projects include: Tara Gabriel’s 2015 novel was “set in Ireland in 1920, which happens to be smack dab in the middle of the Irish War for Independence, sometimes called the Anglo-Irish War. This is the war that broke Ireland into the Republic of Ireland, newly independent at the end of the war, and Northern Ireland, which remains under British rule to this day.” Kate Spofford’s 2017 NaNo project “takes place shortly after the Reign of Terror in France.”

Others, such as Barbara Ridley are working on their on contemporary fiction based on their experiences. Her book is “set in California, early 2000’s, and is inspired by my years of clinical experience working with activists in the disability community, and patients who find the resilience to rebuild their lives after spinal cord injury.” Grace Tierney’s historical fiction, The Light-Keeper’s Diary is about historian Dervla O’Malley discovering Cecil Standish’s 1917 diary written at Castle Cove Lighthouse.

A few have or are working on non-fiction, including artist Celine Terranova’s 2018 NaNo, The Part-Time Artist.

From 2006 to 2017, nearly 400 NaNo novels have been published by traditional presses and over 200 by smaller presses or self-publishing, including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and The Beautiful Land, by Alan Averill.

“I Had A Voice”

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Anne Marie d’Orléans, Queen of Sardinia (27 August 1669 – 26 August 1728) was the second daughter of Philippe, Duke of Orleans, younger son of King Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, and Henrietta Anne Stuart of England, daughter of King Charles I. She was, therefore, the niece of Kings Louis XIV and Charles II.

She married the eighteen-year-old Victor Amadeus II Duke of Savoy on April 8, 1684. Anne had eight children, of whom two sons and two druthers survived.

The birth of their eldest child Adelaide nearly killed Anne, who was barely sixteen at the time. Adelaide married the Duke of Bourgogne, grandson of King Louis XIV. Their next child, Maria Luisa married King Philip V of Spain.

Anne was also involved in governing the kingdom. While her husband was away, for example, fighting the French in 1690, Anne Marie was allowed a limited role, issueing and signing patents.

Anne Marie almost became a Queen in her own right. Her mother, Herneiatte Anne Stuart, was the daughter of King Charles I. Henrietta Anne’s niece, Queen Anne had a series of stilbirths, and her only surviving son died at a young age. This sparked a succession crisis, as King William III and his wife Mary II had no children. The only surviving child was Anne Marie. But, the Act of Settlement, passed in 1701, stated that, were King Wiliam II and Queen Anne to die childless, the throne would pass to Sophia, Electress of Hanover and her Protestant descendants. It excluded Henrietta Anne’s descdeants, and those of Sophia’s eldest siblings. As she was a French Catholic, married to an Italian prince, she and her descendants were barred from the throne.

In 1720, Victor Amadeus became King of Sardinia. His descendants would become Kings of Italy. Neither he nor his wife lived very long after Victor Amadeus became King. He died in 1730, succeded by their son Charles Emmanuel III. His grandson would be named after him and become King Victor Amadeus III.

Anne’s daughters predecesed her and her sons reigned but only one of her sons had children. When the Cardinal of York, Henry IX of England died, the next heir in line would again have been Anne Marie’s line, King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia, great-grandson of King Victor Amadeus and Queen Anne Marie.

Ann Murray, DBE (Born 27 August 1949) – not to be confused with Canadian pop and country singer Morna Ann Murray, known as Ann Murray – is an Irish mezzo-soprano. She was born in Dublin. She began singing lessons at 4, at the Municipal School of Music in Chatham Row [renamed the ‘Dublin College of Music’ in 1962, and known today as the ‘DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama’]. At 7, she became a founding member of the ‘Young Dublin Singers’ and took part in school choir and productions. She attended University College Dublin in 1967 and studied Music and Arts. She was studying with Nancy Calthorpe and, after winning several prizes went to England to study with Frederick Cox at the Royal Manchester College of Music.

Her stage debut was as the title role of C.W Gluck’s Alceste with the Scottish Opera at Aldeburgh. She has performed in the title roles of Handel’s Xerxes and Ariodante and Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, with the English Nationa Opera, and with the Royal Opera House. She has also sung with the Orchestre de Paris, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and many others.

Murray was made an Honorary Doctor of Music by the National University of Ireland in 1997. During the Golden Jubilee Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2002, she was appointed an honorary Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

She performed at the Wexford Festival in Ireland in the 1970s, but has not – as of 2015 – had an opportunity to perform any major title roles in opera in Ireland. She did work as a coach and educator at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She is a founding member of the Songmakers’ Almanac, which “explore[s] neglected areas of piano-accompanied vocal music and provide[s] an alternative to conventional recitals.”

“Bi, Poly, Switch—I’m Not Greedy, I Know What I Want”

June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots which began on June 28, 1969. The New York Police Department staged a raid on The Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. At 1:30 AM, contrary to most raids, which took place during the day. The riots lasted six days and involved thousands. On June 26, the Stonewall Inn, which had been included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, became a National Historic Landmark on June 24, 2016.

Brenda Howard

The first pride event was organized by a bisexual woman named Brenda Howard, know as “the Mother of Pride.” She coordinated events after Stonewall to make sure that the events were not forgotten. Pride began as a week-long series of events. Howard and her allies’ efforts led to events such as New York and Atlanta’s Gay Liberation Day, and San Francisco and Los Angeles’s Gay Freedom Day. New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade eventually became Gay Pride. She also helped founded the New York Area Bisexual Network.

Before becoming an LGBTQ rights activist, Howard was involved in the anti-war and feminism movements. Howard’s activism continued into the 80s and 90, as she demonstrated for national health care, racial equality and for those living with HIV and AIDS. At a time when the gay rights movement was focused on gay men and women, Howard successfully lobbied for the 1993 March on Washington to include bisexuals. Howard died on June 28, 2005, the 36th anniversary of Stonewall.

Several months later, the Queens Chapter of the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) created the Brenda Howard Memorial Award, the “first award by a major American LGBTQ organization to be named after an openly bisexual person.” The annual award “recognizes an individual or organization whose work on behalf of the bisexual community and the greater LGBT community best exemplifies the vision, principles, and community service exemplified by Brenda Howard.”

Nearly fifty years after the Stonewall riots, on June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided in Obergefell v. Hodges that, “The Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state.”

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June is also important in LGBTQ history for several other reasons. Alan Turing, the subject of the 2014 film The Imitation Game committed suicide on June 8, 1954. In 1936, Turing published a paper which was later recognized as “the foundation of computer science” which “analysed what it meant for a human to follow a definite method or procedure to perform a task.” His idea was to invent a “Universal Machine” that could decode and perform any set of instructions.

His best known work, however was a paper he published in 1950, which included the idea for an ‘imitation game’ now called the Turing Test, which compared human and machine outputs. It became an important contribution to the field of Artificial Intelligence.

He did not live to see how his contributions affected the field. In 1952, Turing was convicted until Britain’s anti-homosexuality laws, which were overturned in 1967. He was prosecuted for having an affair with a young man and, chose to undergo chemical castration instead of going to prison. The following year, Turing committed suicide by ingesting cyanide. Turing was granted a posthumous royal pardon in December 2013.

On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published the first official document on the disease that later became known as AIDS. The Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report described five cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, a type of pneumonia typically caused by a suppressed immune system. All five victims were gay young men living in Los Angeles, two of whom died by the time the report was published.

A month after the report was published Dr. Paul Volberding at the University of California San Francisco saw his first case of AIDS on his first day at the San Francisco General Hospital. By the end of 1981, nine people in San Francisco had died from the disease, and by 1984, more than 800 cases were reported. In January 1983, Dr. Volberding established the first HIV outpatient clinic in the United States at San Francisco General Hospital.

On June 9, 2014, actress Laverne Cox was the first transgender person featured on the cover of Time for their “The Transgender Tipping Point” story. She became the first openly transgender person nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Sophia Burset in the show Orange Is the New Black. The show is based on the eponymous book, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman, a bisexual Smith College graduate.

Two years later, on June 10, 2016, an Oregon circuit court ruled that Jamie Shupe could legally change their gender to non-binary. Legal experts believe this to be the first ruling of its kind in the country, though some states and cities have removed gender from ID cards.

Twenty days later, on June 30, 2016, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the U.S. was lifting the ban on transgender people serving in the military. “Starting today, otherwise qualified service members can no longer be in voluntarily separated discharged or denied reenlistment or continuation of service just for being transgender.” This came five years after the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy which allowed LGBT people to serve in the military but banned them from revealing their sexual identity, was repealed. 

President Clinton was the first to honor Pride Month on June  11, 1999, when he declared that June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month.” On May 31, 2016, President Obama declared June “LGBT Pride Month.”