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Thursday, 28 February 2013

February 28th in Queer History

Events this day in Queer History

1977 – Gaysweek first published in New York, USA
2007 – Equalised age of consent comes into force in Jersey, UK

Born this day

Vincente Minnelli  (1903 –  1986)
Stage and film director, famous for directing such classic movie musicals as Meet Me in St. Louis, The Band Wagon, and An American in Paris. He was married to Judy Garland from 1945 until 1951, with whom he was the father of Liza Minnelli.

Stephen Spender (1909 –  1995), UK
English poet, novelist and essayist who concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work. Spender's sexuality has been the subject of debate. He had many affairs with men, especially in his earlier years, but later had heterosexual relationships and was twice married.

Tommy Tune  (1939 – ), US
Actor, dancer, singer, theatre director, producer, and choreographer. Over the course of his career, he has won nine Tony Awards and the National Medal of Arts.

William Finn  (1952 – ),  US
Composer and lyricist of musicals. His musical Falsettos received the 1992 Tony Awards for Best Music and Lyrics and for Best Book.

Rosie Mendez (1963 – ),  US
Democratic Party politician in New York. She is a member of the New York City Council from Manhattan.

Danielle Egnew  (1969 – ),  US
Singer / Actress

Died this day

Henry James – US / UK   (1843 - 1916)
American-born writer, regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He is primarily known for the series of novels in which he portrays the encounter of Americans with Europe and Europeans.
Though closeted, Henry James had a number of intimate relations with young men, and his sexual orientation imbued his fiction.

Edmund John UK (1883 - 1917)
British poet of the Uranian school, a small and somewhat clandestine group of male pederastic poets Much of his work was condemned by critics for being overly decadent and unfashionable.

Stephen Tennant (1906 - 1987) UK
British aristocrat known for his decadent lifestyle. It is said, albeit apocryphally, that he spent most of his life in bed.

Rev Peter Gomes (1942 – 2011) US
Gay, Black, Baptist, Republican clergyman

Sodomy in history, February 28th

1799 — The Mississippi Territory’s first criminal code contains no mention either of sodomy or common-law crimes.

1894 — The Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that sodomy indictments do not have to be specific.

1994 — The Louisiana Supreme Court rules that solicitation for sodomy without an offer of compensation does not constitute an attempt to commit sodomy.


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Angelina Weld Grimké (1880 -1958), African-American poet, writer and teacher

b. February 27, 1880
d. June 10, 1958

Angelina Weld Grimke was a lesbian African American poet, writer, critic, biographer, and teacher. She was an important forerunner of the Harlem Renaissance.

February 27th in Queer History

Born this day

Angelina Weld Grimke (1880 –  1958) US
An African American poet, writer, critic, biographer, and teacher, who was an important forerunner of the Harlem Renaissance.

Pat Bond (1925 – 1990)  US
Actress who in a career spanning forty years, starred on stage and on television, as well as in motion pictures. She was openly lesbian and in many cases she was the first gay woman people saw on stage

Vincent Fourcade (1934 - 1992 ) French  
Interior designer and the business and life partner of Robert Denning. "Outrageous luxury is what our clients want," he once said.

Sonia Johnson  (1936 –  ) US
Feminist activist and writer. She was an outspoken supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) for which she eventually was excommunicated from the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) for her activities. She and her partner Jade DeForest now run Casa Feminista, a New Mexico hotel catering to feminist women.

Libby Davies  (1953 –  ) Canadian / UK
Member of Parliament and Deputy Leader of the federal NDP, New Democratic Party.

Bevan Dufty  (1955 –  ) US
Local politician, a former Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. His election campaigns often won the backing of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

Chiya Fujino  (1962 –  ) Japanese
Author, and a MTF transsexual who reflects the difficulties of her own life journey in the characterisations of her writing.

Sheree Harris (1965 - ) US
Seattle local politician, who defeated a 24-year incumbent councilman and became the nation's first openly lesbian African-American city council member.

Derren Brown (1971 –  ) UK
English illusionist, painter, writer and sceptic. He is known for his appearances in television specials, stage productions, photographic memory, and British television series such as Trick of the Mind and Trick or Treat.
He came out publicly in an interview with the Independent in 2007.

Christopher B Landon  (1975 –  ) US
Screenwriter and film director best known as the writer of 2007 film Disturbia and as the son of filmmaker Michael Landon. Landon came out as gay in 1999 having only written the script of Another Day in Paradise, unafraid of his sexuality harming his career potential

Died this day

Orry-Kelly (1897 - 1964) Australian / US
Professional name of Orry George Kelly, a prolific Hollywood costume designer.

Sir Harold Acton (1904 - 1994) UK
British writer, scholar and dilettante perhaps most famous for being wrongly believed to have inspired the character of "Anthony Blanche" in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited

Annemarie Grewel  (1935/40 - 1998) Dutch
Psychiatrist and academic, who was chairman of the University Council, U. of Amsterdam. From 1982 to 1988 she was a city councillor for Amsterdam, and has also been president of the Dutch Society for Sexual Reform .

Anthony Blond   (1928 - 2008) UK
British publisher and author. Blond, who was openly bisexual, was twice married, and also had a long relationship with Andrew McCall.

Carol Philipps (1965 - 2009) Canadian
Journalist and activist, most prominent as the original editor of Swerve, the first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community magazine in Winnipeg 

Sodomy in history, February 27th

1801 — Congress passes a criminal code for the District of Columbia by incorporating the laws of Maryland into that part of the District ceded by Maryland and the laws of Virginia into that part ceded by Virginia. Slaves in both portions get the death penalty, but free persons get imprisonment, and a flogging in the Maryland portion.

1931 — The Michigan Supreme Court overturns a gross indecency conviction because other acts with other partners were admitted as evidence.

1976 — South Dakota passes a new criminal code that repeals its sodomy law.

1977 — Wyoming repeals its sodomy law in a sexual offenses revision.


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

February 26th in Queer History

Born this day

Christopher Marlowe  (1564 – 1593), UK
English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian,next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists and for the homoerotic situations and incidents which occur in his plays and poems more frequently and more variously that in any other major English Renaissance writer.

Two famous quotations attributed to him were "St John the Evangelist was bedfellow to Christ and leaned alwaies in his bosome, that he used him as the sinners of Sodoma" and "That all they that love not Tobacco & Boies were fooles". These may have been invented by his enemies, but they are in keeping with sentiments expressed or implies in his work.

Ferdinand I of Bulgaria (1861 – 1948),  Bulgarian
Prince. Ferdinand's bisexuality was both well-known and exploited throughout European diplomatic circles. It became the custom for visiting dignataries seeking favour from Ferdinand to be accompanied by a handsome young equerry and Ferdinand's regular holidays on Capri, then a famous haunt for wealthy gay men, was common knowledge in royal courts throughout Europe.

Mabel Dodge Luhan  (1879 – 1962), US
A wealthy American patron of the arts. She is particularly associated with the Taos art colony. She was actively bisexual during her early life and frankly details her passionate physical encounters with young women in her autobiography Intimate Memories

Christopher Gillis  (1951 – 1993), Canadian
Dancer and choreographer and member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Jerry Mills (1951 – 1993), US
Gay cartoonist, noted particularly for his creation of the "Poppers" comic strip. The strip told of the adventures of Billy, a West Hollywood muscleboy, and his sidekick Yves (based on Mills), a big-hearted nebbish who offered good advice and caution (usually unheeded) for his glamorous friend.

Andrew Olexander  (1965 –  ), Australian
Openly gay politician. He was an independent member of the Victorian Legislative Council, after being expelled from the parliamentary Liberal Party, following a drink driving incident.

Josephine Wiggs  (1965 – ),  UK
Indie/alternative rock musician, noted for her work with the bands The Perfect Disaster, The Breeders, and Dusty Trails.

Died this day

Constance Ford (1923 - 1993), US
Actress and model, best known for her long-running role as Ada Hobson on the daytime soap opera Another World.

Jose Quintero (1924 - 1999), Panamanian
Theatre director, producer and pedagogue best known for his interpretations of the works of Eugene O'Neill.

Sodomy in history, February 26th

1897 — An all-male house of prostitution is raided in Eureka, Utah. The owner and three prostitutes are arrested.

1915 — Nevada enacts a broadly worded vagrancy law that prohibits only males from being out late at night for purposes of lewd or dissolute conduct.

1943 — Oklahoma outlaws solicitation for a sexual act.

1955 — Wyoming raises the maximum penalty for sodomy from 5 years to 10 years.

1986 — The Oklahoma Court of Appeals rules that the state’s crime against nature law can not be constitutionally applied to people of the opposite sex, but makes no ruling on the same sex, since it was not at issue in the case.


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Rev. Michael Peterson, M.D. (?-1987)

Michael was raised Mormon, received a full scholarship to University of San Francisco for medicine and converted after his psychiatry degree.
An openly gay man before he converted to Catholicism and became a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington; he was the founder of the St. Luke Institute (a psychiatric hospital in Maryland for Catholic priests and religious-order men and women) and the co-author of a 1985 report to U.S. Catholic bishops, warning them about the level of sexual abuse by priests.
"His report was dismissed by US bishops. Some may have thought he was touting for business for his clinic. Others regarded him as extreme. The report reads now like prophecy."
("Hundreds sue Vatican over child sex abuse", The Sydney Morning Herald, April 6 2002)
He is the founder of the Gay Community News in Boston. Peterson was also one of the first priests with AIDS to attract national attention. He died of AIDS-related complications.

Rev. Thomas Savage, S.J. (1947 - 1999) Rev. Thomas Savage, S.J. (1947 - 1999) U.S.A. and president of Rockhurst University

Thom Savage

Upon leaving Fairfield, Fr. Savage spent a year in Australia on "tertianship" (the first year of the Jesuit formation process). Upon his return, exuberant, brilliant and dedicated to improving urban life, Rev. Thom Savage moved to Kansas City from Connecticut in 1988 to become president of Rockhurst College, now known as Rockhurst University. In addition to his work on the University self study, Fr. Savage taught courses in architecture and business administration.
Though he was only 41, and U.S.'s youngest Jesuit college president, the challenge of running a university didn't intimidate him. Savage was well-known throughout Kansas City for his activism and his pithy contributions to the radio talk show "Religion on the Line". During his six years as president, Rockhurst enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth, particularly in the area of continuing education and corporate training.
He served on the boards of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Board of Trade and helped write FOCUS, Kansas City's exhaustive master plan.
Savage left Rockhurst in 1996, moving to San Francisco to work for a human resources consulting firm. Though already suffering AIDS, he kept it from nearly everyone.
When Thom Savage arrived home for Christmas in 1998, his frail appearance shocked family members. The question of AIDS, however, never came up.
Thom Savage finally decided that he would return to Boston and take on lighter duties for the Jesuits. When Thom Savage arrived in Boston, he was taken to the Jesuit-run Campion Health Center in Weston. As with his illness, Thom Savage also had hidden his homosexuality. He died a year later, of AIDS related complications.

Also see:

The Nun Who Became a Soldier, Fought in the Spanish Army

Catalina de Erauso, Spanish-Mexican soldier and Catholic nun; also known as 'La Monja Alfrez' (The Second Lieutenant Nun)

Catalina de Erauso (1592? - 1650), soldier and nun

Catalina de Erauso was daughter and sister of soldiers from the city of San Sebastián in Spain. Her father was Miguel de Erauso and her mother María Pérez de Gallárraga y Arce. She was expected to become a nun but abandoned the nunnery after a beating at the age of fifteen, just before she was to take her vows. She had not ever seen a street, having entered the convent at the age of four .

She dressed as a man, calling herself "Francisco de Loyola", and left on a long journey from San Sebastian to Valladolid. From there she visited Bilbao, where she signed up on a ship with the assistance of other Basques. She reached Spanish America and enlisted as a soldier in Chile under the nameAlonso Díaz Ramírez de Guzmán. She served under several captains in the Arauco War, including her own brother, who never recognized her.

After one fight in which she killed a man and was wounded fatally, she revealed her sex in a deathbed confession. She however survived after four months of convalescence and left for Guamanga.

To escape yet another incident, she confessed her sex to the bishop, Fray Agustín de Carvajal. Induced by him she entered a convent and her story spread across the ocean. In 1620, the archbishop of Lima called her. In 1624, she arrived in Spain, having changed ship after another fight.

She went to Rome and toured Italy, where she eventually achieved such a level of fame that she was granted a special dispensation by Pope Urban VIIIto wear men's clothing.

Her portrait by Francesco Crescenzio is lost. Back in Spain, Francisco Pacheco (Velázquez's father-in-law) painted her in 1630.

She again left Spain in 1645, this time for New Spain in the fleet of Pedro de Ursua, where she became a mule driver on the road from Veracruz. In New Spain she used the name Antonio de Erauso.

Christopher Marlowe

baptised 26 February 1564
died 30 May 1593

English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian,next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists and for the homoerotic situations and incidents which occur in his plays and poems more frequently and more variously that in any other major English Renaissance writer.

Two famous quotations attributed to him were "St John the Evangelist was bedfellow to Christ and leaned alwaies in his bosome, that he used him as the sinners of Sodoma" and "That all they that love not Tobacco & Boies were fooles". These may have been invented by his enemies, but they are in keeping with sentiments expressed or implies in his work.

Born two months before Shakespeare, Marlowe was the son of an established and respect­able shoemaker in Canterbury, where he attended the King's School, later going on to take both his B.A. and M.A. degrees at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. One month before he was to appear for his commencement in 1587, amid rumors of his conversion to Catholicism and flight to France, the university received a letter from the Queen's Privy Council excusing his absence and assuring them of his loyal service to Elizabeth. This letter has cre­ated a great deal of speculation about the dashing and iconoclastic young man's activities, suggesting that he was probably working as a government spy.

The final six years of his short life were spent in London where "Kit" Mar­lowe was usually involved in something scandalous or illegal, resulting in several scrapes with the law and at least one prison confinement. During these years, he pro­duced his slender but highly important and influential canon: Dido Queen of Carthage (1586), Tamburlaine I and II (1597), The Jew of Malta (1589), The Mas­sacre at Paris (1590), Edward II (1591), Doctor Faustus (1592), and the unfinished narrative poem Hero and Leander. The first genuine poet to write for the English theatre was killed, perhaps assassinated, under highly suspicious circumstances by a knife wound to the head in a private dining room in an inn in Deptford on May 30, 1593.

Twelve days before his death, Marlowe had been arrested on charges of atheism, stemming in part from his repu­tation and from accusations made against him by fellow playwright Thomas Kyd, who had been charged earlier; Kyd's claim was based on documents seized during a search of the rooms both men used for writing. This sort of sensation followed Marlowe throughout his life and, seem­ingly, was fostered by the poet himself.

After his death, claims about him became more personal and explicit. In the proceed­ings of his inquest, government informer Richard Baines claimed that Marlowe had said that "all they that love not Tobacco & Boies were fooles," and in 1598, Francis Meres wrote that he "was stabbed to death by a bawdy seruing man, a riuall of his in his lewde loue." However characteristic of what we do know of Marlowe's life, these posthumous comments do little to estab­lish his homosexuality.

However, Marlowe's work does demonstrate an understanding and com­passion for mythological and historical homosexuality. His Hero and Leander deals directly with Jupiter's passionate infatuation for Ganymede, a story which is also mentioned in Dido, and his masterwork, Edward II, based on fact, can be considered the first gay play in English.

An effeminate child, Edward was given as a companion the orphaned son of a Gascon knight at age 14 by his royal father, who hoped that the handsome and virile 16-year-old Piers Gaveston would exert a positive and masculine influence on his son. However, Edward fell passion­ately in love, and the king banished Gaveston in 1307. Marlowe's play begins shortly after this point with Edward (who had become king upon his father's death) immediately recalling his love to court, much to the anger of his barons, who demand Gaveston's permanent banish­ment. Edward, more the lover than the ruler, will accept nothing of this and even shares his throne with Gaveston, who is eventually seized and beheaded. Enraged in his grief, Edward involves himself in a bloody civil war, eventually taking an­other lover, young Spenser, who also is killed by the barons. Edward himself is seized, forced to abdicate, and, in 1327, is murdered by having a heated poker in­serted into his anus, "intended as just retribution for his sins." In this one play, Marlowe surpasses the achievements of many explicitly gay writers in his sensi­tive and complex portrayal of a doomed and passionate relationship between two men caught up in a repressive and homo­phobic society.
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Ferdinand I of Bulgaria

Son of Prince August of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, born in Vienna, was elected prince of Bulgaria in 1887, after the abdication of Alexander of Battenberg.

Despite Ferdinand's preference for handsome young blond men, he took his responsibility to wed and father a dynasty with the utmost seriousness. Ferdinand entered a marriage of convenience with Princess Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma, daughter of Roberto I of Parma and Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, on April 20, 1893 at the Villa Pianore in Lucca in Italy, producing four children

Ferdinand's bisexuality was both well-known and exploited throughout European diplomatic circles. It became the custom for visiting dignataries seeking favour from Ferdinand to be accompanied by a handsome young equerry and Ferdinand's regular holidays on Capri, then a famous haunt for wealthy gay men, was common knowledge in royal courts throughout Europe.

In 1908 proclaimed Bulgaria's indipendence of Turtkey and assumed the title of Czar. In 1915 he entered World War I as germany's ally, and in 1918 abdicated in favour of his son Boris, and withdrew to private life.
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Monday, 25 February 2013

February 25th in Queer History

Born this day

.Richard Wattis (1912 - 1975) UK 
English character actor,best known for his appearances in British comedies of the 1950s and 1960s, typically as the "Man from the Ministry" or similar character, with trademark thick-rimmed round spectacles. He was an openly gay man in an era when this was a taboo subject.

Severo Sarduy  (1937 –  1993), Cuban
Poet, author, playwright, and critic of Cuban literature and art. Along with José Lezama Lima, Virgilio Piñera, and Reinaldo Arenas, Sarduy is one of the most famous Cuban writers of the twentieth century; some of his works deal explicitly with male homosexuality and transvestism.
He died due to complications from AIDS just after finishing his autobiographical work Los pájaros de la playa.

John Saul  (1942 – ) US
Author of suspense and horror novels. Most of his books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List. Saul, who is openly gay, lives with his partner of 32 years, who has collaborated on several of his novels.

Jorge Donn  (1947 – 1992), Argentine
An 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

Rodger McFarlane  (1955 – 2009), US
Gay rights activist who served as the first paid executive director of the Gay Men's Health Crisis and later served in leadership positions with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Bailey House and the Gill Foundation.

Died this day

Mario de Andrade  (1893 - 1945 ), Brazilian
Poet, novelist, musicologist, art historian and critic, and photographer. One of the founders of Brazilian modernism, he virtually created modern Brazilian poetry with the publication of his Paulicéia Desvairada (Hallucinated City) in 1922.

Tennessee Williams (1911 - 1983), US
Writer who worked principally as a playwright in the American theater, but also wrote short stories, novels, poetry, essays, screenplays and a volume of memoirs. Williams won a Tony Award for best play for The Rose Tattoo (1951) and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire (1948) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955). He is today acknowledged as one of the most accomplished playwrights in the history of English speaking theater.
After some early attempts at heterosexual relationships, by the late 1930s Williams had accepted his homosexuality. However, he wrote directly about homosexuality only in his short stories, his poetry, and his late plays.

James Coco (1930 - 1987), US
Character actor, who won awards for his work on Broadway, television and film

Sodomy in history, February 25th

1784 — Georgia passes a new law adopting English statutes and common law. A survey of what statutes had been adopted by this law revealed that it did not include the buggery statute, making sodomy legal in Georgia.

1914 — The North Carolina Supreme Court rules that fellatio violates the state’s "crime against nature" law.

1976 — Indiana passes a new criminal code that repeals its sodomy law.

1983 — The Rhode Island Supreme Court rules that the enactment of a comprehensive sexual assault reform law did not impliedly repeal the crime against nature law.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

February 24th in Queer History

Born this day

Marjorie Main  (1890 – 1975) US
Character actress, mainly at MGM, perhaps best known for her role as Ma Kettle in a series of ten Ma and Pa Kettle movies. Although she was married (to Stanley LeFevre Krebs, who died in 1935), three authors, Boze Hadleigh, Axel Madsen, and Darwin Porter, have asserted that Main was a lesbian.According to Keith Stern and Boze Hadleigh, Marjorie Main had a long-term lesbian relationship with actress Spring Byington.

Doric Wilson (1939 – )  US
Playwright, director, producer, critic and gay rights activist. A veteran of the anti-war and civil rights demonstrations of the early 1960s-mid 1970s, Wilson was a participant in the Stonewall Riots (1969) and became active in the early days of the New York Gay Liberation movement as a member of GAA (Gay Activist Alliance). He supported his theatrical endeavors by becoming a "star" bartender and manager of the post-Stonewall gay bar scene, opening such landmark institutions as The Spike, TY's and Brothers & Sisters Cabaret. In 2004, Wilson was named a Grand Marshal of the 35th Anniversary Pride Day Parade in New York City. He was featured in the documentary Stonewall Uprising (2010) by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner.
In 1974, Wilson (with Billy Blackwell, Peter del Valle and John McSpadden) formed TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence), the first professional theatre company to deal openly and honestly with the gay experience.

Tony Holiday  (1951 – 1990) German
Born Rolf Peter Knigge, Holiday was a German pop singer and songwriter, who died of AIDS on Valentines Day, 1990 at the age 38.

Judith Butler  (1956 – )  US
Post-structuralist philosopher, who has contributed to the fields of feminism, queer theory, political philosophy, and ethics. In the field of gender and sexuality, she is best known for her landmark book Gender Trouble, first published in 1990,in which she describes gender not as fixed and given, but as a social construct - as "performance". The book, which sold over 100,000 copies internationally and in different languages, has since had a formative influence on the later development of queer theory, and on related fields, including queer theology.
Butler currently lives with her partner, the political scientist Wendy Brown.

Jennie Livingston  (1962 – )  US
Film director best known for the 1990 documentary about the New York gay and transgender Black and Latino ball culture, "Paris is Burning".

Laurent Ruquier  (1963 – ) French
A popular French journalist, satirical comedian, and TV and radio host. He is also a columnist, lyricist, author, screenwriter, and impresario.

Nitzan Horowitz  (1965 –  ) Israeli
journalist and politician. He was the Foreign Affairs commentator and head of the International desk at News 10, the news division of Channel 10, before being elected to the Knesset on the New Movement-Meretz list in 2009. Horowitz then became the second openly gay Knesset member in Israeli history.

Jolie Justus  (1971 – ) US
Lawyer and politician from Missouri. A Democrat, she is a member of the Missouri State Senate, after being elected in 2006. She is the first openly gay member of the Missouri Senate and only the third ever publicly gay member of the Missouri General Assembly. In 2009, Senator Justus was named to The Advocate's "Forty Under 40" list, a list of forty young leaders of the LGBT community.[
She married Shonda Garrison in Iowa in 2009, when that state legalized same-sex marriage.

Ashley MacIsaac  (1975 – ) Canadian
Professional fiddler and actor from Cape Breton Island,noted for his rock-star bravado and eccentricities.
In 1996, in a Maclean's interview, he claimed that he had discussed his sexual life, including his underaged boyfriend in an interview with the LGBT newsmagazine The Advocate.[11] The Advocate did not print any of the material

Jose Galisteo Spanish
Singer / Musician / Actor / Reality TV [Operacion Triunfo]

Gwen Araujo (2002 - 1985 ) US
Pre-operative teenage transwoman, murdered in a hate crime killing in Newark, California, in October 2002.

Died this day

Malcolm Forbes (1919 - 1990) US
Publisher of Forbes magazine, founded by his father B. C. Forbes and today run by his son Steve Forbes. During life, he was noted for his opulent and lavish lifestyle, but kept his sexuality secret. After his death in 1990, OutWeek magazine published a story with the cover headline "The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes," by Michelangelo Signorile, which outed Forbes as a gay man.Signorile was critical of the media for helping Forbes publicize many aspects of his life while keeping his homosexuality a secret.

Johnnie Ray  (1927  - 1990) US
Singer, songwriter, and pianist. Popular for most of the 1950s, Ray has been cited by critics as a major precursor of what would become rock and roll, for his jazz and blues-influenced music and his animated stage personality.
Ray was arrested twice for soliciting men for sex, in 1951 in the restroom of the Stone Theatre burlesque house in Detroit, and in 1959, also in Detroit, for soliciting an undercover officer in a bar called the Brass Rail.

Sodomy in history, February 24th

1863 — The Arizona Territory receives the laws of New Mexico, which includes its common-law reception statute, making sodomy a crime punishable by life imprisonment.

1938 — A California appellate court upholds an oral copulation conviction of a man in a hotel after naval investigators listened in and heard his bed squeaking.

1975 — The Louisiana Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of that state’s sodomy law.


Saturday, 23 February 2013

Gay Popes: Paul II (r -1471) and his embarrassing death

b. 23 February 1417
r. 30 August 1464
d. 26 July 1471

I've been reading Martin Duberman's anthology, "Hidden From History", and in particular James Saslow on Homosexuality in the Renaissance. One of Saslow's key points is that at this time, men who had sex with men were not exclusive - in modern terms, they w0uld more likely be described as "bisexual". In a passage about how the rich and powerful freely made sexual use of their subordinates, I came across this throwaway reference:
Similar patterns prevailed among the clergy and educated humanists. Charges against Paul II and Julius II centred around their seduction of much younger men; Cellini's autobiography records a beautiful and talented youth, Luigi Pulci, who made a career out of service to Roman bishops.
Now, I knew about Julius II  - and for that matter, Julius III - but this was the first sexual gossip I have come across concerning Paul II, so I explored further.  This is what I found: it seems he died while being sodomized by  a page boy.

Paul II died, on July 26, 1471 of a stroke, allegedly whilst being sodomized by a page boy. After his death, one of his successors suggested that he should rather have been called Maria Pietissima, "Our Lady of Pity", because he was inclined to break into tears at times of crisis. Some historians have suggested the nickname was rather due either to Paul propensity to enjoy dressing up in sumptuous ecclesiastical finery, or his likely homosexuality.
Nor was he the only cleric who enjoyed some male company.  Here's Saslow again:
The intimate living arrangements of the all-male clerical world and the opportunities that educational and religious duties afforded for privacy and empiotional intimacy, while not themselves "causes" of of homosexuality, may have contributed circumstantially to their expression.  Priests in fifteenth century Venice and Stuart Sussex were convicted of sex with young parishioners, unpublished records of church trials in Loreto, Italy, in the 1570's detail the activities of a choirboy who slept successively with various older monks......
Remember, while Paul II was enjoying his adventures with co-operative pages, elsewhere in Italy and the rest of Europe, "sodomites" were being burned at the stake for their "sin".

Nor was it only Paul's interest in boys that got my attention.  On his election as pope back 1464, the cardinals tried to rein in papal power (and thus to increase their own), by imposing s range of tight conditions, which:
  • bound the future pope to continue the Turkish war;
  • forbade him to journey outside Rome without the consent of the cardinals;
  • limited the number of cardinals to a maximum of twenty-four,
  • all creations of new cardinals were to be made only with the consent of the College of Cardinals.
  • Upon taking office, Paul II was to convene an ecumenical council within three years.
Alas, for the best laid plans of mice and men......

Paul II simply ignored these requirements, declaring  that election "capitulations", which cardinals had long been in the habit of affirming as rules of conduct for future popes, could affect a new pope only as counsels, not as binding obligations. He then created a whole slew of new cardinals from his own loyalists.
Now, a half a millenium and more later, why does all this sound so familiar?

(Among his "achievements", he was friendly to Christian scholars; he restored many ancient monuments; made a magnificent collection of antiquities and works of art; built the Palazzo di St. Marco, now the Palazzo di Venezia; and probably first introduced printing into Rome. Paul embellished the costume of the cardinals, and collected jewels for his own adornment.)

Related posts:

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February 23rd in Queer History

Events this day in Queer History

2009 – The Colorado House approves a domestic partner benefits bill that would make it easier for unmarried couples (including LGBT) to make medical decisions for incapacitated partners and leave property to their partners [or 24th February 2009]

Born this day

Robin Wood  (1931 –  2009) UK / Canadian

Canada-based film critic and educator.
In September 1974, Wood and his wife divorced. Around this time, he also had a relationship with John Anderson, the dedicatee in at least one of Wood's books. Later he was to meet Richard Lippe, with whom he lived from 1977 until his death in 2009.
After his coming out as a gay man, Wood's writings became more political, primarily from a stance associated with Marxist and Freudian thinking, and with gay rights.

Sugar Lee Hooper (1948 – 2010) Dutch
Stage name of Marja van der Toorn, a Dutch singer and television personality, known for her forthright presentation, shaven head and brightly colored dresses. In 1988, she formed a registered partnership with Andrea van der Kaap. In 2001,the pair converted the partnership into full marriage under the new Dutch law - the first Dutch entertainer to do so.

Glen Maxey  (1952 – )  US
Politician from Austin, Texas, who was the first openly gay member of the Texas Legislature.

Mary Glasspool  (1954 –  ) US
Suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. She is the first open lesbian to be consecrated a bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Michael Hardwick (1954 –  1991) US
Barman / Activist

Karin Wolff  (1959 – )  German
Politician and vice-president of the German state of Hesse, for the conservative Christian Democratic Union. Her academic training and early professional career was in history and evangelical theology, and she remains active in religion. She is a member of the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN), and of the Board of Education of the Evangelical Church in Germany.
In July 2007 she came out publicly, and lives in an openly lesbian relationship in Darmstadt.

Olivier Ducastel  (1962 – )  French
Film director, screenwriter and sound editor who currently works in collaboration with his professional and personal partner Jacques Martineau.

Vaginal Davis  (1969 – )  US
Genderqueer performing artist, painter, independent curator, composer, and writer. Davis's name is a homage to activist Angela Davis.

Michael Ausiello  (1972 – )  US
Television industry journalist and actor.

Died this day

William Bonin (1947  - 1996 ) US
Serial killer and a twice-paroled sex offender, also known as the Freeway Killer, a nickname he shares with two other serial killers. Between 1979 and 1980, Bonin tortured, raped and killed a minimum of 21 boys and young men, and is suspected of committing a further fifteen murders. Bonin was convicted and eventually executed in 1996 for 14 of these murders.

Tuulikki Pietila  (1917 - 2009) Finnish
Graphic artist and professor, one of the most influential people in Finnish graphic arts, whose work has been shown in numerous art exhibitions.

Scott Symons (1933 -2009)  Canadian
Author, who wrote two novels with homoerotic themes before leaving Canada to live in Morocco.
He was openly gay at a time when this was very difficult, publishing his first novel, Place d'Armes, which dealt directly with homosexuality, two years before gay sex was decriminalized in Canada.

Sodomy in history, February 23rd

1921 — The Washington Supreme Court denies the right of defendants in sodomy cases to challenge the morality of the prosecuting witness.

1966 — The Maine Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the state’s sodomy law, but overturns the conviction of an openly Gay man because of prejudicial remarks of the prosecutor.

1966 — The Louisiana Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction even though a witness not connected to the case was permitted to testify.

1983 — The New York Court of Appeals strikes down the state’s loitering law in a case brought by a Gay man.

1989 — A Michigan appellate court overturns a gross indecency charge against a man for fondling an undercover police officer’s clothed crotch area and refuses to follow case law in the state by limiting the scope of the law to nonconsensual acts.


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Friday, 22 February 2013

February 22nd in Queer History

Born this day

Edna St Vincent Millay (1892 –  1950) US
Poet / Playwright

Jane Bowles  (1917 –  1973) US
Author / Playwright, who married the writer Paul Bowles.  It was an unconventional marriage: their intimate relationships were with people of their own sex, but they maintained close ties to each other

Kenneth Williams  (1926 –  1988) UK
Actor / Comedian

Joanna Russ  (1937 – ) US

Barry Dennen  (1938 –  ) Actor / Singer / Author

Pierre Vallieres ( 1938 – 1998) Canadian
Journalist / Author / Publisher

Billy Name  (1940 –  ) US

Ed Savitz  (1942 –  1993) US

Felice Picano  (1944 – )   US
Author / Poet / Critic / Playwright / Publisher

Karla Jay  (1947 – ) US
Professor / Author / Activist

Didier Lestrade  (1958 – )   French
Activist / Author / Publisher

Gigi Fernandez  (1964 –  )Puerto Rican / US

Brian Greig  (1966 –  ) Australian

Aiden Shaw  (1966 –  ) UK
Porn / Poet

Hans Klok  (1969 –  ) Dutch
Illusionist / Actor

Melissa York  (1969 –  ) US

Drew Barrymore  (1975 –  ) US
Actress / Director

Died this day

Sara Josephine Baker (1873  - 1945 )US

Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987 ) US
Painter / Printmaker / Photographer / Director

Glenway Wescott  (1901 - 1987 ) US

Elliott Hayes (1956 - 1994 ) Canadian

Gisberta Salce Jr (??  - 2006 ) Brazilian
Homeless Murder Victim

Fr Robert Carter (1927/8 - 2010) US
Priest and Gay Activist

Sodomy in history, February

1861 — North Carolina amends its sodomy law to eliminate the need to prove emission of semen, but retains the death penalty.

1972 — The Missouri Supreme Court upholds that state’s sodomy law.

1973 — The California Supreme Court overturns public restroom sodomy convictions because of police surveillance from above in a doorless stall.


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Thursday, 21 February 2013

February 21st in Queer History

Born this day

Anais Nin  (1903 –  1977) French

W. H. Auden   (1907 –  1973) UK / US

Humphry Berkeley (1926 –  1994) UK

Barbara Jordan  (1936 – 1996)  US
Politician, who gained national attention for her intelligence, acumen, and oratorical skill as a member of the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee during hearings on the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal. In her career as a legislator and educator she was a vigorous proponent of equal rights, especially for African Americans and women. A deeply closeted lesbian, she did not, however, speak out for the cause of glbtq rights.

Keith Prentice  (1940 –  1992) US

Sam Garrison  (1942 –  2007) US
Lawyer / Activist

David Geffen  (1943 – ) US
Legendary music promoter, film producer, entertainment business mogul and philanthropist.

Peter Hitchener  (1946 –  ) Australian

Phil Reed  (1949 –  2008) US

Isaac Julien  (1960 – ) UK
Artist / Director

Chuck Palahnuik (1962  – ) US
Author / Journalist

Jenny Hiloudaki (1968 – ) Greek
Model / Author

Ramy Eletreby  (1981 –  ) US
Actor / Journalist

Died this day

Harriet Hosmer  (1830 - 1908 ) US

Sodomy in history, February 21st

1788 — New York amends its sodomy law to also require the forfeiture of estate of convicted sodomites.

1903 — New York City police raid the Ariston baths and arrest 26 men for sexual activity (the first recorded raid on a US gay bathhouse). 7 later sentenced to between 4 and 20 years imprisonment. The others in the place are released with a warning and made to leave the building passing through a jeering crowd that had gathered.

1947 — A New York court upholds the conviction of a man for public indecency for sending a young man a letter stating his desire to fuck him. A month later, another court frees him because there was actually no law against what he did.

1963 — American Samoa passes a sodomy law, basing it on the Georgia law, so that two women can not be prosecuted under it.

1963 — The District of Columbia Court of Appeals upholds another solicitation conviction of a man with the corroborating evidence that he had put forth no character witnesses for himself.

1975 — The Washington Court of Appeals rejects a defendant’s contention that fellatio was not a violation of the state’s sodomy law.


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February 21: Barbara Jordan

b. February 21, 1936
d. January 17, 1996
Representative Barbara Jordan (D-Texas) was the first African-American woman elected to Congress from a southern state. She was known as an outstanding orator and Constitutional scholar.
"My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution."

Barbara Jordan came to national prominence during the Watergate Scandal in 1974 when, as a freshman member of the House Judiciary Committee, she made an eloquent speech on the Constitution which was nationally televised in prime time. Her speech set the stage for President Richard Nixon's resignation.
Journalist Molly Ivins said of Jordan, "It seemed to me that the words 'first and only' came before Barbara Jordan['s name] so often that they seemed like a permanent title: the first and only black woman to serve in the Texas State Senate, the first black woman elected to Congress, the first black elected to Congress [since] Reconstruction, the first black woman to serve on corporate boards. She broke so many barriers."
The daughter of a Baptist minister, Barbara Jordan grew up during the days of segregation in Houston's Fifth Ward. She earned degrees from Texas Southern University and Boston University Law School and was admitted to both the Massachusetts and Texas bars before becoming active in politics during the 1960 presidential campaign.
In 1976, Jordan delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, a speech many historians consider the best political keynote speech in modern history.
Jordan began to suffer the physical effects of multiple sclerosis in the 1970's. In 1979, she retired from politics to become a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. She addressed the Democratic National Convention in 1992.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton awarded Jordan the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
At Jordan's funeral in 1996, President Clinton eulogized her: "Whenever she stood to speak, she jolted the nation's attention with her artful and articulate defense of the Constitution, the American Dream, and the common heritage and destiny we share, whether we like it or not. "
Selected works by Barbara Jordan:
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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Baron Jacques d'Adelswärd ( France), Writer

b. February 20, 1880
d. November 5, 1923

Known as "Fersen". He became one of the most notorious of Europe's fin de siècle gay men, principally because he was at the center of a major French homosexual scandal. In July 1903 he was arrested together with another aristocrat, Hamelin de Warren, and charged with indecent assault and "exciting minors to debauchery".

The importance of the scandal derived from the fact that the youths in question were boys of good family from well known Parisian high schools: the Lycée Carnot, the Lycée Condorcet, and the Lycée Janson-de-Sailly.

The occasion of the supposed offence was a series of tableaux vivants organized in his house in which a number of these boys took part, namely one to whom he had written indiscretely passionate letters.

The assault charge was thrown out, but he was found guilty of the lesser offence and and sentenced to a fine, a six month prison sentence and "forfeiture of family rights".

Consequently he moved to Capri, where he became a central figure in the island's gay men expatriate colony until his death.

His lover in Italy was Nino Cesarini, that he made his friends portray in paintings and nude pictures.

He was also the founder of the short-lived gay-erotic magazine Akadémos (1909), to which he contributed under the pen name of "Sonyeuse".

 If you want to read one of Baron Jacques d'Adelswärd's poems, please go at his page in our book Famous Homoerotic Poems.

His work include:

Chansons légères (1901)
Ébauches et débauches (1901)
Source: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001- et alii

February 20th in Queer History

Born this day

William Lygon  (1872 –   1938) UK

Baron Jacques D’Adelsward-Fersen  (1880 –  1923) French
Author / Poet / Aristocrat

Robert Andrews  (1895 –  1976) UK

Roy Cohn  (1927 –  1986) US
Lawyer / Politician

Dr Joel Weisman  (1943 –  2009)  US

Torstein Dahle  (1947 –  ) Norwegian

Andre van Duin  (1947 – ) Dutch
Actor / Singer

Lord John Browne  (1948 –  ) UK

Mab Segrest  (1949 –  ) US
Poet / Activist

Gaetan Dugas  (1953 – 1984 ) Canadian
Flight Attendant [Alleged to be Patient Zero in the AIDS epidemic]

Philip Hensher  (1965 –  ) UK
Journalist / Author

Stephen Gendin  (1966 –  2000) US
Author / Activist

Stuart Miles  (1970 –  ) UK

Calpernia Addams  (1971 –  ) US
Author / Activist / Actress / Musician

Aditya Bondyopadhyay  (1972 –  ) Indian
Lawyer / Activist

Jeremy Jordan  (1978 –  ) Canadian / US

Adrian Lamo  (1981 –  ) US

Died this day

Laurence Housman ( 1865 - 1959) UK
Playwright / Author / Illustrator

Anthony Asquith  (1902 - 1968) UK Director

John Paul Hudson  (1929 - 2002 ) US Activist / Journalist

Marcella Althaus-Reid (? - 2009 ) Argentinian
Theologian, who applied the principles of the liberation theology she she applied in Argentina under the military theology, to sexual liberation and feminist theology. She was a pioneer in the development of queer theology, best known for her landmark books "Indecent Theology" and "The Queer God".

Jason Wood  (1972 -2010) UK
Singer / Drag Queen [Cher Travesty] 

Sodomy in history, February 20th

1775 — In Frisia, the Netherlands, two teenage servants are banished for three years for "toleration of sodomy."

1852 — Delaware eliminates the flogging penalty for sodomy and substitutes time in the pillory before imprisonment.

1939 — The Indiana Supreme Court rejects the contention of a man and woman convicted of sodomy that oral sex only between people of the same sex is sodomy.

1959 — The Idaho Supreme Court upholds the sodomy conviction of Gordon Larsen, one of the Boise victims, despite inflammatory remarks by prosecutors at his trial. The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to review the decision.

1973 — The District of Columbia Court of Appeals rejects a First Amendment challenge to Gay men soliciting for sex.

1974 — A California appellate court rejects a challenge to the constitutionality of the state’s oral copulation law.


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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

February 19th in Queer History

Events this day in Queer History

2009 – North Dakota Senate votes to include LGBT in the Human Rights Act
2010 – Football V Homophobia launches in the UK

Born this day

F. O. Matthiessen  (1902 – 1950) US
Historian / Literary Critic

Carson McCullers  (1917 –  1967 ) US
Author / Playwright

George Rose  (1920 – 1988) UK
Actor / Murder Victim

Dudley Cave  (1921 –  1999) UK

Sheila Kuehl (1941 - ), US
California state legilator

Stuart Challender  (1947 –  1991) Australian

Jackie Curtis  (1947 –   1985) US
Actress / Poet / Playwright

Pim Fortuyn  (1948 –   2002)
Dutch Politician

Lari Pittman  (1952 –  ) US

Stephen F Kolzak  (1953 - 1990) US

Justin Fashanu  (1959/61 - 1998)  UK
Footballer who was known by his early clubs to be gay, and came out to the press later in his career, to become the first and only English professional footballer to be openly homosexual. Until former France international Olivier Rouyer came out in 2008, Fashanu was still the only professional footballer in the world to disclose that he was gay. Fashanu hanged himself in May 1998,at a time when he was wanted in the United States on charges of sexually assaulting a teenager in Maryland. In his suicide note, he insisted that the sex had been consensual.
Since his death, he has been frequently held up as a role model, to encourage other sporting figures to come out publicly.

Jaime Bayly  (1965 – ) Peruvian / US
Author / Journalist / Presenter

Dallas Angguish  (1968 – ) Australian
Author / Poet

Beth Ditto  (1981 –  ) US

Died this day

Andre Gide   (1869 - 1951)  French

Suzanne Malherbe (1892 - 1972) French

Eric Stryker (1954 - 1988) US

Derek Jarman (1942 - 1994)  UK
Director / Screenwriter

Charles Trenet  (1913 - 2001) French
Singer / Author

Sylvia Rivera  (1951 - 2002 ) US

Sodomy in history, February 19th

1821 — Maine enacts a new sodomy law. It retains the male-only provision of the Massachusetts statute, but sets a one-year minimum penalty.

1926 — A California appellate court upholds a sodomy conviction based on photographs without any relationship to the case found in the defendant’s vest.


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Monday, 18 February 2013

Barbara Gittings, pioneer LGBT activist

n.July 31, 1932
d. February 18, 2007

A prominent American activist for gay equality. She organized the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) from 1958 to 1963, edited the national DOB magazine The Ladder from 1963 to 1966, and worked closely with Frank Kameny in the 1960s on the first picket lines that brought attention to the ban on employment of gay people by the largest employer in the US at that time: the United States government. Her early experiences with trying to learn more about lesbianism fueled her lifetime work with libraries.

Her friend and fellow gay rights activist Jack Nichols once heralded Barbara as “the Grand Mother of Lesbian and Gay Liberation.” That’s not much of exaggeration when one considers what she had accomplished for the LGBT community. Her quest for equality and dignity began when she flunked out of her freshman year at Northwestern University because she spent too much time in the library trying to understand what it meant to be a lesbian. Ever since then, her mission was to tear down what she called “the shroud of invisibility” that facilitated the ongoing criminal persecution of homosexuality as well as its being regarded as a mental illness. She organized the New York chapter of the Daughters of Billitis in 1958, and she gained a national platform within the gay and lesbian community as the editor of the pioneering lesbian journal The Ladder in the mid-1960s."
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February 18th in Queer History

Born this day

Tuulikki Pietila (1917 –   2009) Finnish

David March (1925 – 1999) UK

Ned Sherrin  (1931 –  2007) UK
Presenter / Author / Director

Duane Michals  (1932 – ) US

Audre Lorde  (1934 –  1992) US
Author / Poet / Activist

David Ehrenstein  (1947 –  ) US
Film Critic / Journalist / Author / Blogger

Margaret Smith  (1961 – ) UK

Christopher Sieber  (1969 –  ) US
Actor / Singer

Ben Harvey  (1979 –  ) US

Died this day

Michelangelo  (1475 -  1564 ) Italian
Sculptor / Painter / Architect / Poet / Engineer

Charlotte Cushman  (1816 - 1876 ) US
Actress / Singer / Playwright / Director

Scott O’Hara  (1961 - 1998 )  US
Porn / Poet / Editor / Publisher / Author

Laurel Hester  (1956 - 2006)  US
Police Officer

Barbara Gittings (1932 - 2007) US
A prominent American activist for gay equality. She organized the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) from 1958 to 1963, edited the national DOB magazine The Ladder from 1963 to 1966, and worked closely with Frank Kameny in the 1960s on the first picket lines that brought attention to the ban on employment of gay people by the largest employer in the US at that time: the United States government.

Sodomy in history, February

1854 — Alabama is the first state in the nation to make conviction of the "crime against nature" a specific grounds for divorce.

1893 — The Washington Supreme Court notes that Washington has no sodomy law, even though it is indictable under the common-law statute.

1930 — The Iowa Supreme Court upholds a sodomy conviction despite "conflict and contradictions" in the testimony.

1937 — Vermont outlaws oral sex, which the statute calls "fellation."

1957 — The Arkansas Supreme Court upholds the sodomy conviction of a man committed on a blind boy of borderline intelligence, after the trial judge determined him competent to testify because "he believes in God" and had the Bible read to him.


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Audre Lorde, poet, gay, lesbian, LGBT, history

b. February 18, 1934
d. November 17, 1992

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

A self-proclaimed "Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet," Audre Lorde dedicated her life to combating social injustice. She helped found Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, the world's first publishing company run by women of color.

Lorde was the third daughter of immigrant parents from Grenada. She began writing poetry at age twelve and published her first poem in Seventeen magazine at age fifteen. Lorde was strongly influenced by her West Indian heritage, which she explored in her autobiography, "Zami: A New Spelling of My Name."

In 1954, Lorde attended the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), where she solidified her identity as both a poet and a lesbian. She entered the Greenwich Village gay scene after her return to New York in 1955.
She continued her studies, receiving a bachelor's degree from Hunter College in 1959 and a master's degree in Library Science from Columbia University in 1961.
Lorde worked as a librarian while continuing to write and publish poetry. In 1962, she married Edwin Rollins. The couple had two children before their marriage dissolved. Much of Lorde's poetry written during these years explores themes of motherhood and love's impermanence.
In 1968, Lorde received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and published her first volume of poetry, "The First Cities" as a poet-in-residence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. She began a romantic relationship with Frances Clayton that same year that would last until Lorde's death in 1992.
Rich with introspection, Lorde's work contains extensive sociopolitical commentary. As a lesbian woman of color Lorde asserted, "I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and to share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigating pain."
Lorde explored her long battle with cancer in her last work, "The Cancer Journals" (1980). In an African naming ceremony shortly before her death, Lorde took the name Gamba Adisa: "Warrior: She Who Makes Her Meaning Known."


“Audre Lorde.” Lambda. June 29, 2007
De Veaux, Alexis. Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde. W. W. Norton, 2006
Green, Becky and Aletnin Nguyen. “Audre Lorde (1934-1992).” VG: Voices from the Gaps, Women Artists and Writers of Color. December 6, 1996. June 29, 2007
Sullivan, James. “Audre Lorde (1934-1992).” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Modern American Poetry. June 29, 2007

Selected Works

A Burst of Light: Essays (1988)
Coal (1976)
From a Land Where Other People Live (1973)
Need: A Chorale for Black Women Voices (1990)
New York Head Shop and Museum (1974)
Our Dead Behind Us (1986)
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (1984)
The Black Unicorn (1978)
The Cancer Journals (1980)
The Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power (1978)
Undersong: Chosen Poems, Old and New (1982)
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982
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