Born this dayKonstantin Somov (1869 – 1939) Russian
Artist associated with the Mir iskusstva. He was the son of a curator at the Hermitage, and he attended the St Petersburg Academy of Art from 1888 to 1897, studying under the Realist painter Il’ya Repin from 1894. In 1897 and again in 1898–9 he went to Paris and attended the studios of Filippo Colarossi and of Whistler. Neither the Realism of his Russian teachers nor the evanescent quality of Whistler’s art was reflected for long in Somov’s work. He turned instead for inspiration to the Old Masters in the Hermitage and to works of contemporary English and German artists, which he knew from visits abroad and from the art journals.
Robert Odeman (1904 – 1985) German
German classical pianist, actor, writer, and composer. He was a Holocaust survivor.
Odeman's boyfriend was pressured by the Gestapo to denounce him in 1937 and he was arrested and sentenced to 27 months in prison. In 1942 he was again arrested and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. During a forced march from the camp towards the Baltic Sea in April 1945, he escaped with other homosexual concentration camp prisoners.
After the war, in 1959, Odeman met the 25-year-old Günter Nöring, with whom he lived until his death.
Charles Hawtrey (1914 – 1988) UK
English comedy actor, best known from the "Carry on " series, but his career also encompassed the theatre (as both actor and director), the cinema (where he regularly appeared supporting Will Hay in the 1930s and 40s and films such as The Ghost of St Michaels),and television.
Richard Lipez (1938 – ) US
Journalist and mystery author who is best known for his Donald Strachey mysteries, which were originally published under the pen name Richard Stevenson.
Composer who created works using live electronics partly controlled by his ritualistic performance techniques, influenced by his interest in the occult. He committed suicide in response to terminal cancer.
David Laws (1965 – ) UK
British Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Yeovil, Laws was one of five Liberal Democrats to obtain Cabinet positions when the coalition was formed, becoming Chief Secretary to the Treasury, tasked with cutting spending in order to reduce the UK deficit.
His career suffered, and he was simultaneously outed as gay, when newspaper investigators into the parliamentary expenses scandals disclosed that he had been claiming expenses to rent a room in the London flat of his civil partner, James Lundie.
Tommy O’Haver (1968 – ) US
Film director and screenwriter.
Clay Aiken (1978 – ) US
Singer, songwriter, actor, producer and author who began his rise to fame on the second season of the television program American Idol in 2003. After several years of public speculation, Aiken disclosed that he is gay in a September 2008 interview with People magazine.
Died this day
Oscar Wilde – UK (1854 - 1900 ) UK
Writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, plays and the circumstances of his imprisonment for "sodomy and gross indecency", followed by his early death.
Widely regarded as a gay icon, Oscar Wilde us listed at number 3 in Paul Russell's ranking of The Gay 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Gay Men and Lesbians, Past and Present, behind only Socrates and Sappho (and so, the most influential in the modern period). His tomb in Paris has become a major tourist attraction - almost a place of pilgrimage for gay men in particular.
Eoin O’Duffy (1892 - 1944) Irish
A politician and soldier, O'Duffy was in succession a Teachta Dála (i.e., member of the Irish parliament), the Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the second Commissioner of the Garda Síochána, leader of the Army Comrades Association and then the first leader of Fine Gael (1933–34), before leading the Irish Brigade to fight for Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War. He once proclaimed himself the "third most important man in Europe" after Adolf Hitler and fellow fascist Benito Mussolini.
A 2006 documentary program on his life suggested that O'Duffy, who never married, had a long relationship with the actor Micheál MacLiammoir in the Thirties.
Terence Rattigan (1911 - 1977 ) UK
One of England's most popular 20th-century dramatists. His plays are generally set in an upper-middle-class background. He is known for such works as The Winslow Boy (1946), The Browning Version (1948), The Deep Blue Sea (1952) and Separate Tables (1954), among many others.
Rattigan had numerous lovers but no long-term partners, a possible exception being his 'congenial companion [...] and occasional friend' Michael Franklin. It has been claimed that his work is essentially autobiographical, containing coded references to his sexuality, which he kept secret from all but his closest friends.
Laura Gilpin (1891- 1979) US
Photographer,known for her photographs of Native Americans, particularly the Navajo and Pueblo, and her Southwestern landscapes. She frequently photographed her partner, Elizabeth (Betsy)Forster during the more than fifty years they were together, sometimes placing her in scenes with other people as though she were part of a tableau she happened to come upon.
Jorge Donn (1947 - 1992) Argentine
Internationally-known ballet dancer, he was best known for his work with the Maurice Béjart's Ballet company, and his participation as lead dancer in Claude Lelouch's film Les Uns et les Autres. He died of AIDS on 30 November 1992 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
An experimental novelist, punk poet, playwright, essayist, postmodernist and sex-positive feminist writer, Acker was strongly influenced by the Black Mountain School, William S. Burroughs, David Antin, French critical theory, philosophy, and pornography.
Acker's radical experiments with the postmodern novel have attracted considerable notoriety. Some critics praise her technical skill, but she has drawn mixed reactions to the incorporation of graphic sex acts and violence in her fiction. A subversive literary inventor and a defiant voice against patriarchal society, Acker exerted an important influence on postmodern fiction and contemporary feminist discourse.
Simon Nkoli (1957 - 1998) South African
Simon Tseko Nkoli was an anti-apartheid, gay rights and AIDS activist in South Africa. By coming out as gay while a political prisoner, he helped to make the African National Congress more supportive of gay rights. Later, GLOW (a gay activist group he founded) was instrumental in having LGBT protection written into the state constitution.
Sodomy laws in history, November 30
1898 — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upholds the "crime against nature" conviction of a man called "a raging, vicious bull."
1915 — The Missouri Supreme Court rules that fellatio violates the state’s amended sodomy law.
1959 — A Pennsylvania court rules that placing a mouth on a penis without allowing the penis to penetrate the mouth does not violate the state’s sodomy law.
1967 — The New Hampshire Supreme Court rejects a claim that fellatio does not violate the state’s "unnatural and lascivious acts" law.
2000 — England equalizes its age of consent for Gay male sex with that of Lesbian and heterosexual activity.