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Thursday, 7 February 2013

February 7th in Queer History

Born this day

Olive Custance (1874 –  1944) UK
British poet. She was part of the aesthetic movement of the 1890s, and a contributor to The Yellow Book.
Bisexual, in 1901 she became involved in a lesbian relationship with writer Natalie Clifford Barney in Paris, which Barney later included in her memoirs. Custance then became engaged to George Montagu, but ran away and married Lord Alfred Douglas instead.

Johnny Jordaan (1924 –  1989) Dutch
The pseudonym for Johannes Hendricus van Musscher, a Dutch folk singer. He was well known for his songs about the city of Amsterdam, especially the Jordaan district.

Gary Bond (1940 –  1995) UK
English actor, best known as a theatrical actor , but also played a number of roles in feature films and on television. Bond was the companion of actor Jeremy Brett from 1969 to 1976. Later, American artist and illustrator E.J. Taylor was Bond's long-term partner from 1979 to 1995.

Witi Ihimaera (1944 – ) New Zealand
Author, and often regarded as one of the most prominent living Māori writers.

Steve Bronski (1960 – ) UK
Musician, and eponymous member of the British synthpop trio Bronski Beat, who achieved success in the mid 1980s, particularly with the 1984 chart hit "Smalltown Boy". All members of the group were openly gay and their songs reflected this, often containing political commentary on gay-related issues.

Mark Tewksbury (1968 –  ) Canadian
Swimmer, best known for winning the gold medal in the 100 metres backstroke at the 1992 Summer Olympics. In December 1998, Tewksbury announced to the Canadian media and people that he was gay. He was the first Canadian athlete to voluntarily state his homosexuality and his announcement drew great public attention. In 1998, he lost a six-figure contract as a motivational speaker because he was "too openly gay. Tewksbury has simce become a prominent advocate for gay rights and gay causes in Canada and the world. On May 16, 2003, Tewksbury joined the board of directors for the 2006 World Outgames in Montreal and was named co-president.

Died this day

D. K. Broster (1877 - 1950) UK
British novelist and short-story writer

Norman Douglas (1868 - 1952) UK
British writer, now best known for his 1917 novel South Wind. His other claim to fame, is to have been possibly the first person to publish a collection of bawdy verse, a set of limericks such as this one:

There was a young man called McLean
Who invented a f**king machine.
Concave or convex,
It would fit either sex,
And was perfectly simple to clean.

The verses were accompanied by extensive, mock scholarly annotations.

Benny Neyman (1951 - 2008) Dutch

Sodomy in history, February

1706 — Queen Anne disallows the 1700 Pennsylvania sodomy law that included flogging and castration provisions, unaware that it had been changed less than a month earlier.

1877 — The Dakota Territory reduces the maximum penalty for sodomy from life to 10 years.

1950 — The Maine Supreme Court rules that cunnilingus is a "crime against nature."

1966 — The New Jersey Supreme Court overturns the conviction of two prisoners for forcible sodomy on another because a third prisoner said during the trial that all of them had engaged in sodomy with the victim. Evidence also is presented at trial to show that the victim was the lover of one of the defendants.

1980 — The Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds the right of police discriminatorily to enforce prostitution and solicitation laws against Gay men.

1984 — A Michigan appellate court upholds the applicability of the gross indecency law to consenting adults.


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