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Monday, 7 January 2013

January 7th in Queer History

Born this day

Zora Neale Hurston (1891 - 1960), US
Author, anthropologist, and folklorist during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Of Hurston's four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, a book heralded as “one of the most poetic works of fiction by a black writer in the first half of the 20th century, and one of the most revealing treatments in modern literature of a woman’s quest for satisfying life.”

Francis Poulenc (1899 –  1963) French
Composer and a member of the French group Les six. He composed solo piano music, chamber music, oratorio, choral music, opera, ballet music, and orchestral music.
Some writers consider Poulenc one of the first openly gay composers.

Robert Duncan (1919 –  1988) US 
Poet and a student of H.D. and the Western esoteric tradition. Duncan's mature work emerged in the 1950s in the literary context of Beat culture. He was a key figure in the San Francisco Renaissance.

Chester Kallman (1921 –  1975) US 
Poet,librettist, and translator, best known for his collaborations with W. H. Auden and Igor Stravinsky.
In addition to being professional collaborators, Kallman and Isherwood were lovers for a time, and remained life long friends.

Pierre Gripari (1925 – 1990) French
Writer, born to a Greek father and French mother.

Jann Wenner (1946 – ) US 
Co-founder and publisher of the music and politics biweekly Rolling Stone, as well as the owner of Men's Journal and Us Weekly magazines.
Wenner and his wife separated in 1995. Since then, Wenner's partner has been the fashion designer Matt Nye, .

Frans Kellendonk (1951 – 1990) Dutch
Professor of English language and literature in the Netherlands. He was also a novelist, who won the Ferdinand Bordewijk Prijs in 1987 for his novel Mystiek lichaam. This work attracted criticism in gay circles for its alleged homophobia, but Kellendonk was himself gay, and died of complications following AIDS a month after his 39th birthday.

Dionne Brand (1953 – ) Canadian 
Poet, novelist, essayist and documentarian. She was named Toronto's third Poet Laureate in September 2009.

Rex Lee (1969 – ) US 
Actor, best known for his role on the HBO original series, Entourage, as Lloyd Lee.

David Yost (1969 – ) US 
Actor and producer known for his role of Billy Cranston on the television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie and Power Rangers Zeo.

Paul Ferreira (1973 – ) Portuguese / Canadian
Social democratic politician and one of the first openly gay politicians elected to provincial office in Canada.

Billy Merrell (1982 – ) US 
Author and poet. He published his first book Talking in the Dark, a poetry memoir, with Scholastic in 2003. Together with David Levithan,he also co-edited "The Full Spectrum" a collection of queer writing for young readers, which won the 2007 Lammy in the Children's/Young Adult category .

Died this day

Napoleon Lapathiotis (1888 - 1944) Greek
Poet, who began writing and publishing poetry when he was just eleven.

Colin McPhee (1900 - 1964) Canadian
Composer and musicologist. He is primarily known for being the first Western composer to make an ethnomusicological study of Bali, and for the quality of that work. He also composed music influenced by that of Bali and Java decades before such world music–based compositions became widespread.

Richard Hunt (1951 - 1992) US 
Puppeteer best known as a Muppet performer. Hunt's Muppet roles included Scooter, Beaker, Janice, Statler, and Sweetums. After Hunt died of AIDS-related complications, Episode 3136 of Sesame Street and the film The Muppet Christmas Carol were dedicated to his memory.

Larry Grayson (1923 - 1995) UK
Stand-up comedian and television presenter of the 1970s and early 80s. He is best remembered for hosting the BBC's popular series The Generation Game and for his high camp and English music hall humour.
Don Moreland ( - 2012) US
Activist, local politician

Sodomy in history, January 7th

1829 — William Maxwell is the last English sailor hanged for sodomy.

1876 — New Mexico passes a sodomy law with a penalty of up to life imprisonment. Prior to this, it had relied on the English common law.

1957 — The American Civil Liberties Union publishes a position paper on sodomy laws and states that it supports the existence of such laws.

1983 — A Georgia appellate court rules that accomplices’ testimony in sodomy cases needs no corroboration, even though state law specifically requires it.

1986 — The Oklahoma Court of Appeals overturns a crime against nature conviction for cunnilingus, because actual penetration of the vagina had not been proven.


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