Honor Our LGBT Elders Day | May 16
(Last Updated On: November 7, 2022)


Honor Our LGBT Elders Day on May 16 recognizes the thousands of people in the LGBT community who have paved the way for access and social acceptance. Today, take the opportunity to explore, learn and support equality for all LGBT people. 


According to a 2016 Gallup Report, nearly 9 million people identify as an LGBT elder in the United States. These older than average adults face more obstacles than any other age group. Discrimination, social stigma and isolation are among the most common forms of problems LBGT elders face on a daily basis. However, older LGBT citizens are often overlooked when care is needed. 

Learning the history helps educate and develop an understanding of LGBT the struggles and triumphs past and present. 

  • 1924 – Henry Gerber establishes the Society for Human rights, the first gay rights group in the United States.
  • 1969 – Stonewall riots begin in New York City.
  • 1973 – American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from the official list of mental illnesses. Being gay or lesbian is no longer considered a mental illness.
  • 2004 – Massachusetts becomes the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

The history of the LGBT community continues to be written every day. Thanks to LGBT elders, all LGBT people have a little more equality than in previous years. While more work needs to be done, using today to recognize LGBT elders who made a difference honors them and their journey.  


  • Recognize the life of an LGBT elder you know.
  • Volunteer to spend time with an LGBT elder in your area.
  • Organize an event giving LGBT elders an opportunity to speak about their experiences.
  • Host a luncheon, tea or seminar recognizing LGBT elders for their contributions.
  • Create a badge of social media and change your profile showing support for an LGBT elder.
  • Learn the history of the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce.
  • Share #HonorOurLGBTEldersDay on social media to support LGBT elders everywhere.


As the country’s largest (and oldest) LBGT organization, SAGE focuses on improving the lives of LGBT elders. Furthermore, as advocates of older LGBT adults, they offer support and services to those in need. Since 1978, the organization works for policy changes that address the needs of LGBT elders through education and assistance to providers and family members. The also support changes in legislation and provide services where needed.

Historically, LGBT citizens have hidden themselves from society. Even though it is against the law to discriminate against an LGBT individual today, there was a time when being LGBT was illegal. No one remembers this more than those who have fresh memories in their minds than LGBT elders.

The timeline for LGBT equal rights is a long and complex story. All 50 states in the United States imposed criminal prosecution for same sex relationships until 1962. The first National March in Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights took place in October of 1974. In 2003, federal law finally passed acknowledging same sex relationships. Massachusetts performed the first gay marriage 2004. In 2015 Nate Sweeney founded Honor Our LGBT Elders Day with National Day Calendar to recognize the contributions and leadership of  older members of the LGBT community. 

May 16th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History


Following the Civil War, the 39th Congress passes legislation creating a five-cent coin. The legislation also took a step to rectify and make illegal a previously issued five-cent note (paper money) known as fractional currency. When Congress authorized a third printing of the note, it intended to honor Meriwether Clark with his image on the note. However, the legislation only mentioned the explorer’s last name. When Secretary of Treasury Spencer M. Clark received the authority to start designing the five-cent notes, the secretary placed his own image at the center of the fractional bill. The bill created the first five-cent coin while also making the previous five-cent notes illegal and eliminating Spencer Clark’s legal image.

The five-cent coin, made of nickel and copper, became known as the nickel.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held the first Academy Awards ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California. The event honored two years’ worth of films and performances from 1927 and 1928.


U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop released his report declaring the nicotine in tobacco to be addictive similar to heroin and cocaine.

May 16th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays

Elizabeth Palmer Peabody – 1804

In 1860, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody opened the first English-language kindergarten in the United States. At the time, education for children younger than 6 years old was uncommon.

H.H. Holmes – 1896

Considered America’s first serial killer before the term was even coined, H.H. Holmes confessed to 27 murders, though some estimate his total number of victims may be much higher. Born Herman Webster Mudgett, Holmes terrorized Chicago during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Henry Fonda – 1905

An actor of both stage and screen, Henry Fonda earned critical acclaim for roles in The Grapes of Wrath and an Academy Award for On Golden Pond.

Liberace – 1919

Born Wladziu Valentino Liberace, the American pianist rose to prominence in 1951 when his self-named program The Liberace Show premiered.

Janet Jackson – 1966

The American singer, songwriter and performer won her first Grammy in 1989 for her Rhythm Nation 1814 video. That year she was also nominated for Best R&B vocal performance, Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals and Producer of the Year.

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