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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

April 17th in Queer History

Born this day

Thornton Wilder (1897 - 1975) US
American playwright and novelist. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and a National Book Award for his novel The Eighth Day.
Although Wilder never discussed being gay publicly or in his writings, his close friend Samuel Steward is generally acknowledged to have been a lover. Wilder was introduced to Steward by Gertrude Stein, who at the time regularly corresponded with the both of them.

Chavela Vargas  (1919 – )  Mexican / Costa Rican
Singer, especially known for her rendition of Mexican rancheras genre - a folkloric musical genre widely popular in Mexico - but she is also recognized for her contribution to other popular Latin American song genres. She has been an influential interpreter in the Americas and Europe, muse to figures such as Pedro Almodóvar, hailed for her haunting performances, and called "la voz áspera de la ternura", the rough voice of tenderness.
She partly retired in the late 1970s due to a 15 year-long battle with alcoholism, which she has described in her autobiography ("Y si quieres saber de mi pasado" [And if you want to know about my past], published in 2002) as "my 15 years in hell" At 81 years old, she publicly declared that she was a lesbian.

Lindsay Anderson  (1923 – 1994)  UK
Indian-born, British feature film, theatre and documentary director, film critic, and leading light of the Free Cinema movement and the British New Wave. He is most widely remembered for his 1968 film if...., which won the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival.
Gavin Lambert's memoir, "Mainly About Lindsay Anderson" in which he claimed that Anderson repressed his homosexuality, was seen as a betrayal by his other friends. Malcolm McDowell was quoted in 2006 as saying: "I know that he was in love with Richard Harris the star of Anderson's first feature, This Sporting Life. I am sure that it was the same with me and Albert Finney and the rest. It wasn't a physical thing. But I suppose he always fell in love with his leading men. He would always pick someone who was unattainable because he was heterosexual."

Lon McCallister  (1923 – 2005) nbsp;US
Actor,who began appearing in movies at the age of 13. As an adult he found it difficult to obtain roles, with a height of only 5'6". In 1953, at the age of 30, he retired from acting. Later in life he became a successful real estate manager.

Irena Klepfisz  (1941 – )  Polish / US
Author, academic and activist in feminist, lesbian, and secular Jewish communities.

Tommy Nutter  (1943 – 1992) UK
Tailor, famous for reinventing the Savile Row suit in the 1960s, with numerous celebrity clients. Nutter himself was most proud of the fact that, for the cover of The Beatles' album Abbey Road in 1969, he dressed three out of the four.

Erin Mouré (1955 – ) Canadian
Poet and translator of poetry from languages which include, French, Galician, Portuguese and Spanish to English.

Sandra Alland 1973 – UK / Canadian
Scottish-Canadian writer, multimedia artist, small press publisher, performer and activist.
1986 – Carter Longway [aka Jarod Steel] - ? Porn [or 10th April 1986]

Saint's day

Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651 – 1695)Mexican
Catholic nun whose critically acclaimed writings include lesbian love poetry. She is considered one of the greatest Latin American poets and an early advocate of women’s rights.

Died this day

Willi Smith (1987 – 1987) US
Fashion Designer regarded at the time of his death as one of the most successful young African-American designers in the industry.

Sodomy in history, 
April 17

1702 — East and West New Jersey are united into the colony of New Jersey and the English buggery statute is regarded as in force.
1857Maine sets a one-year minimum for sodomy and eliminates the word "detestable" from the sodomy law.
1950 — The Arkansas Supreme Court upholds the sodomy conviction of a man after a private letter of his was opened and read by the police without a warrant.
1952California eliminates the maximum penalty for sodomy, allowing life imprisonment.
1967 — The Arkansas Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction based entirely on circumstantial evidence, overruling a 1925 decision that required more proof.
1968 — The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rules that Indiana’s sodomy law can not be enforced against married couples, even though the law does not exempt them.


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