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(50,501 posts)
Tue Jul 4, 2023, 11:46 AM Jul 2023

Today in Gay History: Thank a gay man for your freedom! [View all]

Two hundred forty years ago today, the thirteen British colonies in what we now call the United States of America had gotten so fed up with the way the Crown was treating them, they wrote a nice little letter to the King telling him his presence here was no longer required.

The King was not amused.

In the war that shortly followed, the Colonists were getting their butts kicked not only by the well-trained British troops the King sent to bring us back in line but by themselves. They couldn't fight, and their camp sanitation was terrible. Dysentery killed nearly as many Colonial soldiers as the British did.

General Washington knew if he didn't do something the Colonies would remain at the end of the British supply lines and he'd find himself at the end of a rope. What to do? Yes, of course: find someone who actually knew how to fight and get him in here to straighten out this unruly mob.

Washington knew of a great general, the Baron von Steuben.

Europe knew about this guy too: he'd been run out of every decent country on the Continent for being very gay, and he was about to be executed for it. The colonists cut a deal with them: let him go, give him to us and you'll never see him again. They were okay with that.

Von Steuben came to the United States and freaked out about how bad Washington's army was. They were even doing stupid shit like putting latrines next to the mess hall. Von Steuben wrote "Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States," which became known as the Blue Book and was used until 1812. He organized a company of 100 men to serve as trainers for the rest of the Army. And he fixed the latrine situation right away. Under his guidance the Army turned itself around.

After the war, the new nation was so grateful they gave him an estate where he could farm and be as gay as he wanted.

So while you're celebrating your freedom today give a thought to the gay man who made it possible.

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Interesting. Apparently this fact was known by pretty much everybody at the time, Ocelot II Jul 2023 #1
there's a hs in chi named after him. mopinko Jul 2023 #2
Also a junior H.S in Milwaukee. Grumpy Old Guy Jul 2023 #4
I think most of the places with "Steuben" in them are named for him Major Nikon Jul 2023 #15
Steubenville, Ohio Deep State Witch Jul 2023 #20
His statue is across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park. (eom) Duncan Grant Jul 2023 #3
Correct, that's an important spot IronLionZion Jul 2023 #8
A more "coded" view is memorable, too. Duncan Grant Jul 2023 #12
Cool! I've seen that statue many times in pictures and never knew the story. nt SunSeeker Jul 2023 #21
Thanks for the reminder. NNadir Jul 2023 #5
k/r progressoid Jul 2023 #6
Very interesting wendyb-NC Jul 2023 #7
Yes underpants Jul 2023 #9
Had not heard this story before Bayard Jul 2023 #10
Fascinating...never heard that. I am thankful! Demsrule86 Jul 2023 #11
To all you Christians out there, thanks to King James 1ST for the King James Version of the Bible. spike jones Jul 2023 #13
Alexander Hamilton as well was probably at least bisexual. roamer65 Jul 2023 #14
It would be interesting if we knew how many of the founding fathers were LGBTQ Major Nikon Jul 2023 #16
They were revolutionaries. roamer65 Jul 2023 #17
More than just revolutionaries, the FF were "enlightened." OMGWTF Jul 2023 #26
the old fashioned term for 'woke'? :) TxGuitar Jul 2023 #34
Fantastic! I did not know this. MLAA Jul 2023 #18
Neither did I. Good stuff! calimary Jul 2023 #29
And now I know. Done. thatcrowwoman Jul 2023 #19
What an interesting and lttle known story of the founding and saving of our country. Fla Dem Jul 2023 #22
And Casimir Pulaski was most likely intersex or trans. Tanuki Jul 2023 #23
So interesting, thank you, nt Unwind Your Mind Jul 2023 #36
Wonderful! Teach it wherever you can bc the kids won't learn that in school. 1WorldHope Jul 2023 #24
A great Independence Day eye-opener. Much thanks! 70sEraVet Jul 2023 #25
A short addendum jmowreader Jul 2023 #27
I like to tell people about this. Most have never heard it. K&R. n/t ms liberty Jul 2023 #28
KNR and bookmarking. niyad Jul 2023 #30
Likewise Hekate Jul 2023 #32
Wow! Fascinating. 👍 electric_blue68 Jul 2023 #31
please share this far and wide . watch their heads explode. AllaN01Bear Jul 2023 #33
Von Steuben proved that a trained army was far superior to a militia system. Crowman2009 Jul 2023 #35
there is a psa (?) that wcpt runs every once in awhile orleans Jul 2023 #37
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