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Friday, 4 November 2011

November 4th in Queer History


Arizona & Florida voters pass constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage;
Arkansas voters pass Act 1, effectively banning adoption by same-sex couples
California voters ban same-sex marriage with Proposition 8, becoming the first US state to do so after marriages had been legalised for same-sex couples 

Born this day

JR Ackerley (1896 – 1967) UK  Author / Playwright.

A twentieth-century British editor who fostered the careers of a number of important gay writers, J. R. Ackerley also wrote a small but significant body of gay literature that includes memoirs and drama.

Frances Faye (1912 –  1991) US  Singer / Actress

American cabaret and show tune singer and pianist. Faye was married twice in the 1940s. In the late 1950s, a woman named Teri Shepherd became her manager and lifelong partner.

Sam Wagstaff (1921 –1987) US Art Collector.

American art curator and collector as well as the artistic mentor and benefactor of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (who was also his lifetime companion) and poet-punk rocker Patti Smith. Mapplethorpe, whom Wagstaff called his shy pornographer, was also his guide to the gay demimonde of extreme sex and drugs that flourished in New York in the 1970s and 80s.

Barbara Grier (1933 –  2011) US Author,  Publisher

As bibliographer, reviewer, collector, editor, and co-founder of Naiad Press, Barbara Grier has been an important nurturer of lesbian literature.

One of the notable titles she published was the groundbreaking book "Lesbian Nuns: Breaking the Silence", which was a smash hit (unusual in lesbian publishing) and went on to make a lot of money. Some of the stories  were eventually sold to the men's porno magazine Penthouse - and so ended by providing cheap lesbo sex thrills to straight men.

Roxanne Ellis (1942 – 1995) US  Hate Crime Victim

Roxanne Ellis and Michelle Abdill were a lesbian couple, murdered in Medford, Oregon by Robert Acremant. Before and during his trial, Acremant stated that the crime was partially motivated by the couple's sexual orientation.

Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 –  1989) US Photographer

Robert Mapplethorpe is one of America’s preeminent 20th century photographers. His works, which have been displayed in numerous prominent galleries and museums, encompass an eclectic mix of subjects: flowers, especially orchids and calla lilies, classical nudes, homoerotic acts, bondage and discipline, and celebrities.

In 1989, Mapplethorpe died from complications arising from AIDS. He was 42.

John S Arrowood (1956 – ) US  Judge

American attorney and judge who, in August 2007, was appointed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Arrowood is openly gay and was the first openly LGBT judge on the NC Court of Appeals.

Jon Robin Baitz (1961 – ) US  Playwright, Producer, Actor.

One of the foremost American playwrights working today, Jon Robin Baitz is the author of such highly praised plays as The Substance of Fire, Three Hotels, and A Fair Country. His works are generally regarded as both morally serious and politically conscious

Steve Cruz (1972 – ) US Porn / Director

Dan Fishback ( 1981 – ) US  Performance Artist / Playwright / Singer / Songwriter

Queer-identified, Jewish-American performance artist, playwright and singer-songwriter

Died this day

Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918) UK  Poet / Soldier

One of the leading English poets of the First World War, Wilfred Owen combined the homoeroticism latent in the elegy tradition with precise observation of the horror of trench warfare. Much of Owen's earliest poetry is in the homoerotic tradition that includes Shelley's "Adonais," Tennyson's In Memoriam, and A. E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad: poems that simultaneously celebrate and mourn the beauty of a dead young man.

IAR Wylie (1885 - 1959) Australian/ British  Author 

Ida Alexa Ross Wylie, usually known by her pen name I. A. R. Wylie, was an Australian - born novelist and poet who flourished during the 1910s as a romance writer and later became known for her nonfiction work. She lived for some time with doctor Sara Josephine Baker.

Keith Vaughan (1912 - 1977) UK  Painter 

British painter of figures and landscapes in oils and gouache, who was above all else enthralled by the male human body, which, as Bernard Denvir observed in the catalogue of an exhibition held at Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery in 1981, "assumed in his work an importance it had never known before in the history of British painting."

Essex Hemphill (1957 - 1995) US  Poet / Activist 

Died on November 4, 1995 of AIDS-related complications. He is known for his activism for equality and rights for gay men.

Graham Payn (1918 - 2005) UK  Actor / Singer

South African-born English actor and singer, also known for being the life partner of the playwright Noël Coward. Beginning as a boy soprano, Payn later made a career as a singer and actor in the works of Coward and others. After Coward's death, Payn ran the Coward Estate for 25 years.

Massimo Consoli (1945 - 2007) Italian  Activist 

Known as "the father of the Italian gay movement".[1] Besides being an activist, he was also an anarchist and an historian. He wrote more than 30 books, mostly on gay issues, including works on German authors Karl Heinrich Ulrichs and Kurt Hiller. He was a close friend of American author and activist Vito Russo and Italian activist Mario Mieli.

Sodomy laws in history, November 2

1816 — The Michigan Territory adopts a new criminal code that outlaws sodomy with a penalty of up to 21 years at solitary and hard labor and a fine.

1835 — Massachusetts makes its "crime against nature" law gender-neutral, but retains the severe 20-years-in-prison penalty.

1893 — The West Virginia Supreme Court rules that repeal of a statute in derogation of the common law revives the common-law provision. Since the state recognizes common-law crimes, this means that repeal of the sodomy law will not legalize consensual sodomy.

1898 — The Hawaii Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction after a non-unanimous jury verdict and upon uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice.

1913 — Oregon voters defeat a proposed law to sterilize "sexual perverts" by a 56%-44% margin.

1968 — The Arizona Supreme Court makes its third rejection of a vagueness challenge to the state’s sodomy law.

1985 — The U.S. Supreme Court announces that it will hear Georgia’s appeal of the Eleventh Circuit’s striking of Georgia’s sodomy law. The initial vote in October is 7-2 against hearing the appeal, which would have left the striking of the law standing. Ultraconservative Justices Byron White and William Rehnquist are the only two wanting to hear the case. Then, liberals William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall change their votes to hear the case, wanting to use it as a vehicle to expand privacy rights. That makes it 5-4 against hearing the case, which still will put it on the docket, since it takes only four votes to hear a case. Then, Brennan decides that the court’s conservative majority would vote to uphold the law, so he switches against hearing the case, making it 6-3, so that the case would not be heard. Then, reactionary Chief Justice Warren Burger changes his vote to hear the case, making it 5-4 against, again putting the case on the court’s docket. Pressure then is put on Thurgood Marshall to change his vote, but is not successful because he does not want to be seen as parroting Brennan. As a result, four justices voted to hear the case, putting it on the court’s docket.


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