< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >
Cal Anderson becomes Washington's first openly gay legislator on November 9, 1987.
HistoryLink.org Essay 5407
: Printer-Friendly Format
On November 9, 1987, Democrat Calvin B. "Cal" Anderson (1948-1995) becomes Washington state's first openly gay legislator when the King County Council appoints him to a vacant seat in the House of Representatives from Seattle's 43rd District. Anderson will go on to win election to the House from the 43rd District. In 1994, he will win election to the Washington State Senate.
Anderson was a Democratic activist and an aide to Seattle City Council Member George Benson and to Mayor Charles Royer. He was a decorated combat veteran of the U.S. Army in Vietnam and called himself, "a Democrat who happens to be gay" (The Seattle Times). In the legislature Anderson backed gay rights legislation and battled initiatives that would discriminate against gays. He also worked for campaign finance reform, easier voter registration, and open access to government documents.
Cal Anderson died on August 4, 1995, of an illness related to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). On April 19, 2003, Cal Anderson Park, on Seattle's Capitol Hill, was named and dedicated in his honor, along with the park's new structure, the Cal Anderson Shelterhouse. On September 24, 2005, the community celebrated the grand re-opening of the park.
Dick Clever, "County Council OK's Anderson As 43rd District Representative," The Seattle Times, November 10, 1987, p. G-3; Carole Beers, "Cal Anderson, Legislator Dies," Ibid., August 5, 1995, p. A-1; Michael Paulson, "Anderson Recalled As Fighter, Wit, Diplomat," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 11, 1995, p. B-1.
Note: This essay was updated on January 12, 2006.
Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay
Browse to Next Essay >
Government & Politics |
Gays & Lesbians |
Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that
encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both
HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any
reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this
Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For
more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact
the source noted in the image credit.
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided
By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins
| Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry
| 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle
| City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach
Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private
Sponsors and Visitors Like You