July 26 in LGBTQ History

1989: In a response to politcal outcries over a Robert Mapplethrope exhibit, Jesse Helms leads a fight in the U.S. Scnate to curtail National Endowment for the Arts funding for “obscene or indecent art,” including artworks that depict “sadomasochism, homoeroticism, the exploitation of children, or individuals engaged in sex acts.” The measure is overwhelmingly adopted by a voice vote. Anne Murphy, executive director of the American Arts Alliance, notes that under the new restrictions, “We certainly couldn’t produce most of Shakespeare. Certainly not Richard III.” The Senate measure also specifically bars federal grants for the next five years to two art groups that helped fund the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit.

1990: Three gay men are attacked-one of them slashed in the face with a razor-by a gang of seven youths shouting antigay epithets on New York’s Christopher Street. The slashing victim seventeen-year-old dance instructor Gerarud Stewart-requires more than sixty stitches to his cheeks, chin, neck, and arms.

2011: The United States Department of Labor releases a report on employee benefits in the United States which for the first time includes information on the availability of same-sex domestic partnership benefits.

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