You could make a case that the Big Bang moment of the modern lgbt universe was Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, which he self-published in 1855 when he was 36. His open celebration of love between men was a major inspiration to Oscar Wilde and to Edward Carpenter and to scores of other towering queer leaders who have turned the tide of human history. Born in Long Island the second of nine children, he moved frequently with his poor and unlucky family and dropped out of school at 11. He jumped from job to job, teaching, journalism, government clerk. He was fired from his post at the Bureau of Indian Affairs after the new Secretary of the Interior read his book. Whitman became a nurse during the Civil War and in 1866 met his beloved Peter Doyle, a streetcar conductor. He lived until 1892. For the full story, read Gary Schmidgall's MLA Prize winning biography, Walt Whitman: A Gay Life. Ignore the generations of scholars who have tried to degay him, the contemporary critics who claim his homosexuality is "irrelevant," and his own late life prevarications about his having had a wife and children. Also, read the poems.