March 17 in LGBTQ History
1970: The film version of Matt Crowley’s play The Boys in the Band opens in New York, directed by William Friedkin. The director remarks, “I hope there are happy homosexuals. There just don’t happen to be any in my film.”
1977: Two years after having repealed its state sodomy laws, Arkansas’s state legislature votes to repeal the repeal and reinstates criminal penalties for homosexual acts between consenting adults.
1987: The White House reveals that President Reagan has undergone AIDS testing out of fear that he may have contracted the disease during blood transfusions after his 1981 assassination attempt.
1989: Actor Merritt Butrick, best known for his portrayal of James Kirk’s son in the films Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, dies of AIDS in Los Angeles at the age of twenty-nine. Savvier viewers also remember him as Johnny Slash from the short-lived ’80s sitcom Square Pegs, starring a young Sarah Jessica Parker and Jami Gertz.