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Friday, 31 January 2014

January 31st in Queer History

Events this day in queer history

1964 Randolphe Wicker Appears on the Les Crane Show

1965 Washington Post Publishes “Those Others: A Report on Homosexuality”

Born this day

Tallulah Bankhead (1902 –  1968) US

Anna Blaman  (1905 –  1960) Dutch

Pat Kavanaugh (1940 –  2008) UK
Literary Agent

Derek Jarman (1942 –  1994) UK
Director / Screenwriter

Fred Karger (1950 - ). US

Political consultant and gay rights activist, who in 2012 stood as openly gay candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. 
His campaign may have seemed quixotic, but Karger was serious about his goal to “open up” the Republican party and to send a message to young people to “stand up and be proud in a tough atmosphere.” He also achieved a notable first by becoming the first openly gay presidential candidate from a major political party in American history. 
- Box Turtle Bulletin
Charles Howard (1961 –  1984) US
Hate Crime Victim

Patrick Gale (1962 – )  UK

David Oliver (1962 –  1992) US

Patricia Velasquez (1971 – ) Venezuelan
Actress / Model

Portia de Rossi (1973 – ) Australian

The Australian-born actress is best known for her roles as Nelle Porter on Ally McBeal and as Linsay Bluth Fünke on Arrested Development. She married Ellen DeGeneres in 2008, and on August 6, 2010 she field a petition to take Ellen’s name. She became a US citizen in 2012 - Box Turtle Bulletin

Chad Hunt (1973/4 – ) US

Albert Kennedy (1973 – 1989) UK
Homeless Person

Daniel Tammet (1979 – ) UK Autistic

Maia Lee Singaporean

Died this day

Keith Norton (1941 - 2010 )Canadian
Politician / Lawyer

Sodomy in history, January

1729 — A Prussian baker is executed for fellating another man who later died, according to the court, of "exhaustion."

1913 — Oregon amends its sodomy law to include any act of "sexual perversity," thus including not only oral sex, put any other form of erotica. The penalty also is increased from a maximum of 5 years to a maximum of 15.


Thursday, 30 January 2014

January 30th in Queer History

Born this day

Howard Sturgis (1920 - 1855) UK

Maud Hunt Squire (1873 –  1955) US

Jack Spicer (1925 –  1965) US

Stewart McKinney (1931 – 1987) US

Thomas Duane (1955 – ) US

Mark Eitzel (1959 – )  US

Died this day

Francis Poulenc (1899 - 1963) French

Rodolfo Morale(2001 – 1925) Mexican

Sodomy in history, January

1827 — Illinois enacts a law prohibiting anyone convicted of sodomy from holding public office.

1951 — A California appellate court upholds the oral copulation conviction of a man based on police looking into the window of a restroom.

1959 — The Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that sodomy convictions can be secured largely on circumstantial evidence.

1961 — The New Mexico House of Representatives votes 37-28 in favor of a revised criminal code that includes a repeal of the state’s sodomy law. This is the first vote by a U.S. legislative body to repeal a sodomy law. This bill refers to sodomitical relations as "variant sexual practice," something unique in U.S. history.

1978 — The Louisiana Supreme Court overturns a sodomy conviction because of testimony given in the trial trying to show that the defendant was Gay. The Court said that whether the defendant was Gay or not was irrelevant under the state’s sodomy law.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

January 29th in Queer History

Events this day in Queer History

2007 – Israeli couple (Avi & Binyamin Rose) become first gay couple to legally register in Jerusalem after the Supreme Court ruled in their favour

Born this day

Ian Meldrum (1946 – ) Australian

Gia Carangi (1960 –  1986) US

Greg Louganis (1960 –  ) US
Olympic Diver

Mirjam Muntefering (1969 - ) German

Clare Balding (1971 – ) UK
Jockey / Presenter

Sara Gilbert (1975 – )  US

Francesco D’Macho (1979 – )  Italian
Porn / Director / Model

Adam Lambert (1982 – ) US
Singer / Actor

Todd Herzog (1985 –) US
Reality TV [Survivor]

Died this day

Herman Bang (1857 - 1912 ) Dutch

Benjamin Smoke (1960 - 1999 ) US

Paco Vidarte (1970 - 2008 ) Spanish
Author / Activist / Philosopher

Sodomy in history, January 29th

1954 — The New Mexico Supreme Court rules that emission is not necessary to prove sodomy.

1973 — The Arkansas Supreme Court rejects a challenge to the state’s sodomy law on the ground that it establishes religion.


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

January 28th in Queer History

Born this day

General Charles George Gordon (1833 - 1885) British
British General, also known as "Chinese Gordon", or as "Gordon of Khartoum", for the famous battle in which he died.

Colette (1873 – 1954) French

Richmond Barthe (1901 – 1989) US

John Normington (1937 –  2007) UK

Guido Bachmann (1940 – 2003) Swiss
Author / Actor

Joel Crothers (1941 – 1985) US

Bobbi Campbell (1952 –  1984) US
Nurse / Drag Queen / Activist

Frederique Spigt (1957 – ) Dutch
Singer / Songwriter / Composer / Presenter

Adrian Lee Kellard (1959 –  1991) US

Benjamin Smoke (1960 –  1999) US

Tyler Riggz (1975 – ) US
Police / Porn

Nadia Almada (1977 – ) Portuguese
Reality TV [Big Brother]

Blake Riley (1986 – ) US

Died this day

Richard Loeb (1905 - 1936) US

Reynaldo Hahn (1874 - 1947) Venezuelan / French
Composer / Conductor / Musician / Critic

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.”

Josephine Herbst (1892 - 1969) US
Author / Historian / Journalist / Literary Critic

Bryher [Annie Winifred Ellerman] (1894 - 1983) UK
Author / Poet / Editor

Jerry Mills (1951 - 1993) US

Sodomy in history, January 28th

1965 — The Maine Supreme Court rules that penetration is an essential element in the crime of sodomy.

1977 — The Kentucky Supreme Court rules that the alleged homosexuality of a sodomy "victim" is irrelevant under state law.


Charles George Gordon, British General

b. 28 January 1833
d. 26 January 1885

Major-General Charles George Gordon, CB (28 January 1833 – 26 January 1885), known as Chinese Gordon, Gordon Pasha, and Gordon of Khartoum, was a British army officer, of the Corps of Royal Engineers and administrator. He is remembered for his campaigns in China and northern Africa.

In 1852 he entered the engineer corps and took part in the Cri­mean War and then in the war against China. After peace was concluded he trav­eled in China and in 1863 entered Chinese service to suppress the Taiping rebellion. In February 1874 the Viceroy of Egypt summoned him to continue the campaign to subdue the upper Nile as far as the equatorial lakes. After his success, in 1877 he was named Pasha and Governor Gen­eral of the Sudan. Resigning this post in 1879, he was for a brief time Military Secretary of the Viceroy of India and then adviser to the Chinese government. In January 1884 he was dispatched to Khar­toum by the British government to assert Egyptian rule in the Sudan against the Mahdi. Furnished as he was with insuffi­cient means, he took up a military posi­tion in the city and w«ts vigorous in pursu­ing his assignment; but as the Mahdi's supporters grew in number, while the Gladstone cabinet failed to send relief forces, after a ten-month siege Khartoum was captured and Gordon himself was transfixed by a spear (January 26,1885). He was immediately recognized and honored as a national hero whose legend remains to this day.

The homosexual aspect of Gordon's personality remains obscure, and disputed. From his early twenties, when he left to fight in the Crimean War, he was possessed by a longing for martyrdom, and his actions fully confirmed the desire which he repeatedly expressed in words to those closest to him. On Russian soil and in the savage hand-to-hand fighting against the Taiping rebels in China, he iuvited death at every step, exposing himself to wholly needless risks and unarmed except for a rattan cane. Again in the Sudan, whether tracking down slavers or suppressing a tribal rebellion, he would delight in out­pacing his military escort in order to arrive alone in the enemy's lair. And in the final year of his life, in complete disregard of official instructions, he courted and met death at the hands of the Mahdi's warriors. Gordon never married and his relation­ships with women seem all to have been platonic. While living at Gravesend in the mid-1860s, he took a remarkable interest in the ragged urchins of the neighborhood, "scuttlers" or "kings," as he called them. He fed them and taught them, and when they were filthy, he would wash them himself in the horse trough. He preached to them, though not very well, gave them talks of current affairs, and most impor­tant, he found them jobs - in the army, in barges and warehouses, and at sea.

It seems probable that coming from a strict military family he was tor­mented with guilt over his homosexual impulses, and that repressing his urges was so painful to him that he sought death as a release from unbearable inner an­guish. In his personality he was both con­formist and rebel, one who could never reconcile his inner nature with the obligations that tradition and discipline imposed upon him. His life was one continuous conflict, and he resolved it only by service to the point of self-sacrifice and a hero's death at Khartoum.

Warren Johansson, in "Encyclopedia of Homosexuality" (Wayne R. Dynes, ed)

Monday, 27 January 2014

Sarah Aldridge (January 27, 1911- January 11, 2006) U.S.A. Writer

She was born Anyda Marchant, January 27, 1911 in Rio De Janerio, Brazil, daughter of Langworthy and Maude Marchant, and moved with her family to Washington, DC at age six. After earning her undergraduate degree, followed in 1933 by her law degree from the National University of Washington, DC (now George Washington University), she was admitted to practice in Virginia and DC, and before the U.S. Court of Claims and the U. S. Supreme Court. She served the World Bank as an attorney in the Legal Department for 18 years until retiring in 1972.

Writer of lesbian popular fiction under the pen name of Sarah Aldridge, much of it published by the lesbian Naiad Press, founded by Sarah and her life partner Muriel. Her many volumes that have an explicit lesbian content include The Latecomer (1974), Tottie: A Tale of the Sixties (1975), Cytherea's Breath (1976), All True Lovers (1978), The Nesting Place (1982), Madame Aurora (1983), Misfortune's Friend (1985), Magdalena (1987), Keep to Me Stranger (1989), A Flight of Angels (1992), and Michaela (1994). In 1995 Marchant and Crawford withdrew from Naiad and began their own publishing company, A&M Books in Rehoboth Beach. A&M published the last three Sarah Aldridge novels

She and her companion of 57 years, Muriel Inez Crawford, retired to Rehoboth Beach, DE in 1972, where she died, aged 94.

Source: Gabriele Griffin, Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay and Writing, Routledge, London, 2002 - et alii

January 27th in Queer History

Events this day in Queer History

2005 – First International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Born this day

Sarah Aldridge (1911 – 2006) Brazilian / US

Ethan Mordden (1949 - ) US

Alan Cumming (1965 – ) UK

Ryan Andrijich (1977 – ) Australian
Chef / Presenter [Aussie Queer Eye]

Died this day

Augusto d’Halmar (1882 - 1950 ) Chilean

Alain Danielou (1907 - 1994 ) French
Historian / Author

Alan G Rogers (1967 - 2008 ) US
Soldier / Activist

Sodomy in history, January 27th


Sunday, 26 January 2014

January 26th in Queer History

Events this day in Queer History

LGBT people born  this day, 25th January:

1874 – W Somerset Maugham – UK Author – Died 16th December 1965
1882 – Virginia Woolf – UK Author – Died 28th March 1941
1914 – Ian Harvey – UK Politician – Died 10th January 1987
1952 – Peter Tatchell – UK Politician / Activist
1962 – Aaron Fricke – Canadian Activist / Author
1963 – Suzanne Klemann – Dutch Singer
1963 – Don Mancini – US Screenwriter / Producer / Director
1969 – Eric Banks – US Composer / Conductor 

Died this day

1975 – Charlotte Whitton – Canadian Activist / Politician – Born 8th March 1896
1986 – Bill Kraus – US Activist – Born 26th June 1947
2005 – Philip Johnson – US Architect – Born 8th July 1906
2009 – Antonio Pagan – US Politician – Born 22nd August 1958

Sodomy in history, January 26th

1800 — Virginia eliminates the death penalty for sodomy for free persons, but retains the death penalty for slaves


Friday, 24 January 2014

Henri Nouwen, Catholic Priest

b. January 24, 1932
d. September 21, 1996

Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection.
A Dutch-born Catholic priest and writer who authored 40 books about spirituality. Nouwen's books, which are still being read today, include The Wounded HealerIn the Name of Jesus, Clowning in Rome, Life of the Belovedand The Way of the Heart.. The results of a Christian Century magazine survey conducted in 2003 indicate that Nouwen's work was a first choice of authors for Catholic and mainline Protestant clergy.One of his most famous works is Inner Voice of Love, his diary from December 1987 to June 1988 during one of his most serious bouts with clinical depression - which was rooted in part, in his early conflicts over sexuality and celibacy.

Nouwen is thought to have struggled with his sexuality. "Although his homosexuality was known by those close to him, he never publicly claimed a homosexual identity." Although he never directly addressed the matter of his sexuality in the writings he published during his lifetime, it is said that he acknowledged the struggle both in his private journals and in discussions with friends, both of which were extensively referenced by Michael Ford in the biography Wounded Prophet, which was published after Nouwen's death. Ford suggests that Nouwen only became fully comfortable with his sexual orientation in the last few years of his life, and that Nouwen's depression was caused in part by the conflict between his priestly vows of celibacy and the sense of loneliness and longing for intimacy that he experienced. Ford conjectured, "This took an enormous emotional, spiritual and physical toll on his life and may have contributed to his early death." There is no evidence that Nouwen ever broke his vow of celibacy

His spirituality was influenced notably by his friendship with Jean Vanier. At the invitation of Vanier, Nouwen visited L'Arche in France, the first of over 130 communities around the world where people with developmental disabilities live with those who care for them. In 1986 Nouwen accepted the position of pastor for a L'Arche community called "Daybreak" in Canada, near Toronto. Nouwen wrote about his relationship with Adam, a core member at L'Arche Daybreak with profound developmental disabilities, in a book titled Adam: God's Beloved. Father Nouwen was a good friend of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.


Ford, Michael: Wounded Prophet: A Portrait of Henri J.M. Nouwen

The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society
In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership
Clowning in Rome: Reflections on Solitude, Celibacy, Prayer, and Contemplation
Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World
The Way of the Heart
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Thursday, 23 January 2014

January 23rd in Queer History

Born this day:

Sergei Eisenstein  (1898 –  1948) Russian
Director / Producer / Screenwriter

Randolph Scott (1898 – 1987 ) US

Joyce Grant (1924 – 2006 )South African

Pierre Bourgault ( 1934 – 2003)  Canadian
Politician / Author / Actor / Journalist

Patrick Fyffe [Dame Hilda Bracket] ( 1942 – 2002 ) UK
Comedian / Singer / Entertainer

Gary Burton ( 1943 –  )US

Kyle Rae ( 1954 – ) Canadian
Politician / Activist

And those who died:

Samuel Barber (1910 –1981 ) US
Composer, and life partner of the composer and librettist Juan Carlo Menotti

Alfredo Ormando ( 1958 – 1998 ) Italian
Author and gay Catholic, who committed suicide by setting himself alight in St Peter's Square, Rome, in protest against the Catholic doctrines against homosexuality.

Nell Carter ( 1948 – 2003 ) US

Earl Wild (1915  – 2010) US

Died this day

Sodomy in history, January 23rd


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Lord George Byron Gordon U.K. Poet

George Gordon (Noel) Byron, Lord Byron, Sixth Baron of Rochdale

Byron was the leading poet of the romantic period. His epic satire Don Juan is considered his masterpiece; but he is also known for his Childe Harold and Manfred. Byron's life was filled with lovers of both sexes. As a seventeen year old student at Trinity College, he fell in love with John Eddleston, a choir boy of the same age. Byron wrote that "I certainly love him more than any human being".

Some biographers have dismissed this as a platonic infacuation, but there is less uncertainty surrounding Byron's 1811 relationship with Nikolo Giraud, a youth of mixed French-Greek blood whom Byron described as "the most beautiful being I have ever beheld". They were inseparable for a time, and Byron consulted a doctor about a relaxation of the sphincter muscle that was giving Giraud trouble.

Byron's many other liasons included with Lord Clare, and one of his half-sister Augusta; when this relationship was criticised as incestuous, he explained, "I could love anything on earth that appeared to wish it".

He married in 1815 but separated a year later; relationships with a beatiful italian noblewoman, and with another handsome greek youth, followed. Parts of Byron's life will remain unknown; although he wrote his memoirs and entrusted them to his friend John Cam Hobhouse, they were considered too scandalous for publication after his death and were burned. Byron's first biographer, Thomas Moore, carefully avoided the specific question of Byron's homosexuality and portrayed his relationships with male friends as chaste romantic attachments of a platonic kind.

 Born in London, Byron was the son of the handsome and profligate Captain John "Mad Jack" Byron and his second wife, Catherine (Kitty) Gordon, Laird of Ghigt (a Scottish title), who was considered coarse and frivolous by those who knew her, including her son. He was christened George Gordon Byron. After her husband had squandered most of her fortune, Mrs. Byron took her infant son to Aberdeen, Scotland, where they lived in lodgings on a meagre income. but by then his mother was no longer Laird of Ghigt, as she had sold her land and title to pay his father's debts.

The captain left them and died in France in 1791. His son, George Gordon Byron, had been born with a clubfoot and early developed an extreme sensitivity to his lameness. He was registered at school as George Byron Gordon. Neighbours called him "wee Geordie Byron" and "the leetle deevil". On May 21, 1798, at age 10, he unexpectedly inherited the title of his great-uncle William, the 5th Baron Byron, with the estate of Newstead Abbey in Nottingham and Baron Byron of Rochdale in Lancashire. A confusion arises because his title and surname are the same.

His mother proudly took him to England, where the boy fell in love with the ghostly halls and spacious ruins of Newstead Abbey, which had been presented to the Byrons by Henry VIII. After living at Newstead for a while, Byron was sent to school in London, and in 1801 he went to Harrow, one of England's most prestigious schools, where taunts from the older boys about his club foot, which he later attributed to her tight corsets, kept him miserable. This did not, however, prevent him from falling in love with his younger classmates. As he recorded of Harrow, "My school friendships were with me -- passions. That with Lord Clare began one of the earliest and lasted longest... I never hear the word "Clare" without a beating of the heart even now, and I write it with the feelings of 1803-4-5 ad infinitum." Some fifty years later Harrow would become infamous when stories of wild, homosexual rituals were revealed.

In 1803 he fell in love with his distant cousin, Mary Chaworth, who was older and already engaged, and when she rejected him she became the symbol for Byron of idealized and unattainable love. He probably met Augusta Byron, his half sister from his father's first marriage, that same year.

In 1805 Byron entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he piled up debts at an alarming rate and indulged in the conventional vices of undergraduates there. One of Byron's college friends, Charles Matthews, along with all things liberal and fashionable, advocated "paederasty" in the classic Greek tradition. There he conceived what in his words was "A violent, though pure, love and passion" for John Edleston, a choirboy whom he first heard sing in Trinity Chapel. "His voice," Byron wrote, "first attracted my attention, his countenance fixed it, and his manners attach me to him forever.... I certainly love him more than any human being, and neither time or distance have had the least effect on my (in general) changeable disposition."

Some of Byron's earliest poems are to Edleston, including To E___, Stanzas to Jessy, and The Cornelian, which records Edleston's gift to Byron of a Cornelian, which Byron kept with him the rest of his life. These appeared in Hours of Idleness (1807), Byron's first collection of poems. Byron wrote several poems that scholars believe were written to and about John, calling him "Thyrza". One of the Thyrza poems, written after John had died, indicates in the words: "The pressure of the thrilling hand, the kiss, so guiltless and refined, that Love each warmer wish forbore", that their physical contact had been restricted to hand-holding and kissing. Even much later in life, after the Thyrza poems had become very famous and popular, Byron refused to say who they were addressed to and changed the pronouns from masculine to feminine to conceal that this doomed but lifelong passion was for a man.

After two years of being Byron's "almost constant associate since October 1805", John had to move away from Cambridge to London and Byron wrote to a woman friend, Elizabeth Pigot, about his heartbreak, saying that he was planning to live with his "protégé" after he had completed his studies, which would "put Lady E. Butler & Miss Ponsonby to the Blush, Pylades & Orestes out of countenance, & want nothing but a Catastrophe like Nisus and Euryalus, to give Johnathon & David the 'go by' ". These are all same-sex passionate relationships.

In 1806 Byron had his early poems privately printed in a volume entitled Fugitive Pieces, and that same year he formed at Trinity what was to be a close, lifelong friendship with John Cam Hobhouse, who stirred his interest in liberal Whiggism.

Byron's first published volume of poetry, Hours of Idleness, appeared in 1807. A sarcastic critique of the book in The Edinburgh Review provoked his retaliation in 1809 with a couplet satire, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, in which he attacked the contemporary literary scene. This work gained him his first recognition. In a letter to a friend in 1809, Byron wrote (probably facetiously) that he was going to Turkey to do research for a treatise "Sodomy simplified or Paederasty proved to be praiseworthy from ancient authors and modern practice". Like all jokes, this must have had an edge of truth to be funny.

On reaching his majority in 1809, Byron took his seat in the House of Lords, and then embarked with Hobhouse on a grand tour. They sailed to Lisbon, crossed Spain, and proceeded by Gibraltar and Malta to Greece, where they ventured inland to Ionnina and to Tepelene in Albania. In Greece Byron began Childe Harolde's Pilgrimage, which he continued in Athens. In March 1810 he sailed with Hobhouse for Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), visited the site of Troy, and swam the Hellespont (present-day Dardanelles) in imitation of Leander. Byron's sojourn in Greece made a lasting impression on him. The Greeks' free and open frankness contrasted strongly with English reserve and hypocrisy and served to broaden his views of men and manners. He delighted in the sunshine and the moral tolerance of the people.

While Byron was on his travels in Turkey, Albania, and Greece he wrote to Matthews frequently about his sexual conquests of boys using a coded term based on Latin "plen. et optabil. -Coit." (frequent and desired intercourse). He reported that he was amusing himself with "a Sopha to tumble upon" with Greek boys, who especially charmed him, and he had liaisons with several, including Eustathius Georgiou and Nicolo Giraud, whom he named his heir upon his return to London. Eustathius had "ambrosial curls hanging down his amiable back".

Nicolo Giraud was a youth of mixed French-Greek blood whom Byron described as "the most beautiful being I have ever beheld". They were inseparable for a time, and Byron consulted a doctor about a relaxation of the sphincter muscle that was giving Giraud trouble. It has also been argued that while in the East, Byron was a lover of Ali Pasha or his son, Veli Pasha, rulers of Albania and the Peloponessus. They were very friendly and hospitable to Byron and Veli Pasha did give him a beautiful white horse.

Byron arrived back in London in July 1811, and his mother died before he could reach her at Newstead. In 1811 the sad news reached Byron of John Edleston's premature death. Byron wrote: "I have heard of a death the other day that shocked me more than any, of one whom I loved more than any, of one whom I loved more than I ever loved a living thing, and one who, I believe, loved me to the last." In Edleston's memory Byron composed Thyrza, a series of elegies, though for publication he changed the pronouns to make the sentiments appear more acceptable.

In February 1812 he made his first speech in the House of Lords, a humanitarian plea opposing harsh Tory measures against riotous Nottingham weavers. At the beginning of March, the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage were published by John Murray, and Byron "woke to find himself famous." The poem describes the travels and reflections of a young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. Besides furnishing a travelogue of Byron's own wanderings through the Mediterranean, the first two cantos express the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras.

In the poem Byron reflects upon the vanity of ambition, the transitory nature of pleasure, and the futility of the search for perfection in the course of a "pilgrimage" through Portugal, Spain, Albania, and Greece. In the wake of Childe Harold's enormous popularity, Byron was lionized in Whig society. The handsome poet was swept into a liaison with the passionate and eccentric Lady Caroline Lamb, and the scandal of an elopement was barely prevented by his friend Hobhouse. She was succeeded as his lover by Lady Oxford, who encouraged Byron's radicalism.

During the summer of 1813, Byron apparently entered into intimate relations with his half sister Augusta, now married to Colonel George Leigh. He then carried on a flirtation with Lady Frances Webster as a diversion from this dangerous liaison. The agitations of these two love affairs and the sense of mingled guilt and exultation they aroused in Byron are reflected in the series of gloomy and remorseful Oriental verse tales he wrote at this time: The Giaour (1813); The Bride of Abydos (1813); The Corsair (1814), which sold 10,000 copies on the day of publication; and Lara (1814).

Seeking to escape his love affairs in marriage, Byron proposed in September 1814 to Anne Isabella (Annabella) Milbanke. The marriage took place in Seaham Hall, County Durham, January 2, 1815, and Lady Byron gave birth to a daughter, Augusta Ada, in London, December 10, 1815. From the start the marriage was doomed by the gulf between Byron and his unimaginative and humorless wife; and in January 1816 Annabella left Byron to live with her parents, amid swirling rumours centring on his relations with Augusta Leigh and his bisexuality. The couple obtained a legal separation. Wounded by the general moral indignation directed at him, and to escape the scandal Byron was forced to flee England in April, 1816, never to return (the penalty for homosexuality in England at that time was death).

Byron sailed up the Rhine River into Switzerland and settled at Geneva, near Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Godwin, who had eloped, and Godwin's stepdaughter by a second marriage, Claire Clairmont, with whom Byron had begun an affair in England. In Geneva he wrote the third canto of Childe Harold (1816), which follows Harold from Belgium up the Rhine River to Switzerland. It memorably evokes the historical associations of each place Harold visits, giving pictures of the Battle of Waterloo (whose site Byron visited), of Napoleon and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and of the Swiss mountains and lakes, in verse that expresses both the most aspiring and most melancholy moods. A visit to the Bernese Oberland provided the scenery for the Faustian poetic drama Manfred (1817), whose protagonist reflects Byron's own brooding sense of guilt and the wider frustrations of the Romantic spirit doomed by the reflection that man is "half dust, half deity, alike unfit to sink or soar."

At the end of the summer the Shelley party left for England, where Claire gave birth to Byron's illegitimate daughter Allegra in January 1817. In October Byron and Hobhouse departed for Italy. They stopped in Venice, where Byron enjoyed the relaxed customs and morals of the Italians and carried on a love affair with Marianna Segati, his landlord's wife. In May he joined Hobhouse in Rome, gathering impressions that he recorded in a fourth canto of Childe Harold (1818). He also wrote Beppo, a poem in ottava rima that satirically contrasts Italian with English manners in the story of a Venetian menage-*-trois. Back in Venice, Margarita Cogni, a baker's wife, replaced Segati as his mistress, and his descriptions of the vagaries of this "gentle tigress" are among the most entertaining passages in his letters describing life in Italy. The sale of Newstead Abbey in the autumn of 1818 for £94,500 cleared Byron of his debts, which had risen to £34,000, and left him with a generous income.

In the light, mock-heroic style of Beppo Byron found the form in which he would write his greatest poem, Don Juan, a satire in the form of a picaresque verse tale. The first two cantos of Don Juan were begun in 1818 and published in July 1819. Byron transformed the legendary libertine Don Juan into an unsophisticated, innocent young man who, though he delightedly succumbs to the beautiful women who pursue him, remains a rational norm against which to view the absurdities and irrationalities of the world.

Upon being sent abroad by his mother from his native Seville, Juan survives a shipwreck en route and is cast up on a Greek island, whence he is sold into slavery in Constantinople. He escapes to the Russian army, participates gallantly in the Russians' siege of Ismail, and is sent to St. Petersburg, where he wins the favour of the empress Catherine the Great and is sent by her on a diplomatic mission to England. The poem's story, however, remains merely a peg on which Byron could hang a witty and satirical social commentary.

His most consistent targets are, first, the hypocrisy and cant underlying various social and sexual conventions, and, second, the vain ambitions and pretenses of poets, lovers, generals, rulers, and humanity in general. Don Juan remains unfinished; Byron completed 16 cantos and had begun the 17th before his own illness and death. In Don Juan he was able to free himself from the excessive melancholy of Childe Harold and reveal other sides of his character and personality--his satiric wit and his unique view of the comic rather than the tragic discrepancy between reality and appearance.

Shelley and other visitors in 1818 found Byron grown fat, with hair long and turning gray, looking older than his years, and sunk in sexual promiscuity. But a chance meeting with Countess Teresa Gamba Guiccioli, who was only 19 years old and married to a man nearly three times her age, reenergized Byron and changed the course of his life. Byron followed her to Ravenna, and she later accompanied him back to Venice.

Byron returned to Ravenna in January 1820 as Teresa's cavalier servente (gentleman-in-waiting) and won the friendship of her father and brother, Counts Ruggero and Pietro Gamba, who initiated him into the secret society of the Carbonari and its revolutionary aims to free Italy from Austrian rule. In Ravenna Byron wrote The Prophecy of Dante; cantos III, IV, and V of Don Juan; the poetic dramas Marino Faliero, Sardanapalus, The Two Foscari, and Cain (all published in 1821); and a satire on the poet Robert Southey, The Vision of Judgment, which contains a devastating parody of that poet laureate's fulsome eulogy of King George III.

Byron arrived in Pisa in November 1821, having followed Teresa and the Counts Gamba there after the latter had been expelled from Ravenna for taking part in an abortive uprising. He left his daughter Allegra, who had been sent to him by her mother, to be educated in a convent near Ravenna, where she died the following April. In Pisa Byron again became associated with Shelley, and in early summer of 1822 Byron went to Leghorn (Livorno), where he rented a villa not far from the sea. There in July the poet and essayist Leigh Hunt arrived from England to help Shelley and Byron edit a radical journal, The Liberal. Byron returned to Pisa and housed Hunt and his family in his villa. Despite the drowning of Shelley on July 8, the periodical went forward, and its first number contained The Vision of Judgment. At the end of September Byron moved to Genoa, where Teresa's family had found asylum.

Byron's interest in the periodical gradually waned, but he continued to support Hunt and to give manuscripts to The Liberal. After a quarrel with his publisher, John Murray, Byron gave all his later work, including cantos VI to XVI of Don Juan (1823-24), to Leigh Hunt's brother John, publisher of The Liberal. By this time Byron was in search of new adventure. In April 1823 he agreed to act as agent of the London Committee, which had been formed to aid the Greeks in their struggle for independence from the Turks. In July 1823 Byron left Genoa for Cephalonia. He sent £4,000 of his own money to prepare the Greek fleet for sea service.

In July, 1823, he made his way to the Ionian island of Cephalonia, where he fell in love with a fifteen years old boy named Loukas Chalandritsanos. Byron gave him money, fancy uniforms and the command of a regiment. By January, 1824, he and Loukas, whom he had taken along as his page, were in Missolonghi to join the forces of Prince Alexandros Mavrocordatos, leader of the forces in western Greece. The last poems Byron wrote were found among his papers after his sudden death - they indicated how much painfully he had fallen in love with Loukas Chalandritsanos - his final three poems - On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year, Last Words on Greece, and Love and Death - were searing declarations of his love for Loukas, who apparently was unwilling to return his affections:

To thee -- to thee -- e'en in the grasp of death
My spirit turned, O, oftener than it ought,
Thus much and more; and yet thou lov'st me not,
And never wilt! Love dwells not in our will.
Nor can I blame thee, though it be my lot
To strongly, wrongly, vainly love thee still.
Byron made efforts to unite the various Greek factions and took personal command of a brigade of Souliot soldiers, reputedly the bravest of the Greeks. Byron traveled to Greece in 1823 to supervise and distribute the money collected by a committee in England that were supporting the Greek leaders who were in rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. He was in Missolonghi, planning the first raid to be organized with British help, in the spring of 1824.

On April 19, he died of a fever that was probably a relapse of the malaria that he had contracted in 1811. The fever had come on as a complication of a cold after going riding in a rain storm. He is reported to have claimed to his valet that his doctors were assassinating him. He did not approve of bleeding as a treatment for fever, but after several days of illness, he became very weak and permitted the doctors to bleed him. They drew his blood repeatedly, until it ran clear, which pleased them, as they feared permanent brain damage from fever. They had also repeatedly purged him. After he fell into a coma, they were not able to give him water which he had been frequently demanding before he lost consciousness. He died a day later. He was thirty-six.

Deeply mourned, he became a symbol of disinterested patriotism and a Greek national hero. His body was brought back to England and, refused burial in Westminster Abbey, was placed in the family vault near Newstead. Ironically, 145 years after his death, a memorial to Byron was finally placed on the floor of Westminster Abbey.

Lord Byron's writings are more patently autobiographic than even those of his fellow self-revealing Romantics. Upon close examination, however, the paradox of his complex character can be resolved into understandable elements. Byron early became aware of reality's imperfections, but the skepticism and cynicism bred of his disillusionment coexisted with a lifelong propensity to seek ideal perfection in all of life's experiences. Consequently, he alternated between deep-seated melancholy and humorous mockery in his reaction to the disparity between real life and his unattainable ideals. The melancholy of Childe Harold and the satiric realism of Don Juan are thus two sides of the same coin: the former runs the gamut of the moods of Romantic despair in reaction to life's imperfections, while the latter exhibits the humorous irony attending the unmasking of the hypocritical facade of reality.

 Byron was initially diverted from his satiric-realistic bent by the success of Childe Harold. He followed this up with the Oriental Tales, which reflected the gloomy moods of self-analysis and disenchantment of his years of fame. In Manfred and the third and fourth cantos of Childe Harold he projected the brooding remorse and despair that followed the debacle of his ambitions and love affairs in England. But gradually the relaxed and freer life in Italy opened up again the satiric vein, and he found his forte in the mock-heroic style of Italian verse satire. The ottava rima form, which Byron used in Beppo and Don Juan, was easily adaptable to the digressive commentary, and its final couplet was ideally suited to the deflation of sentimental pretensions:

Alas! for Juan and Haidée! they were
So loving and so lovely--till then never,
Excepting our first parents, such a pair
Had run the risk of being damn'd for ever;
And Haidée, being devout as well as fair
Had, doubtless, heard about the Stygian river,
And hell and purgatory--but forgot
Just in the very crisis she should not.
Byron's plays are not as highly regarded as his poetry. He provided Manfred, Cain, and the historical dramas with characters whose exalted rhetoric is replete with Byronic philosophy and self-confession, but these plays are truly successful only insofar as their protagonists reflect aspects of Byron's own personality.
Byron was a superb letter writer, conversational, witty, and relaxed, and the 20th-century publication of many previously unknown letters has further enhanced his literary reputation. Whether dealing with love or poetry, he cuts through to the heart of the matter with admirable incisiveness, and his apt and amusing turns of phrase make even his business letters fascinating.

Byron showed only that facet of his many-sided nature that was most congenial to each of his friends. To Hobhouse he was the facetious companion, humorous, cynical, and realistic, while to Edleston, and to most women, he could be tender, melancholy, and idealistic. But this weakness was also Byron's strength. His chameleon-like character was engendered not by hypocrisy but by sympathy and adaptability, for the side he showed was a real if only partial revelation of his true self. And this mobility of character permitted him to savour and to record the mood and thought of the moment with a sensitivity denied to those tied to the conventions of consistency.

Byron's attachment, when at Cambridge, to Eddleston the chorister, a youth two years younger than himself, is well known. In a youthful letter to Miss Pigot he, Byron, speaks of it in enthusiastic terms:

"Trin. Coll., Camb., July 15th, 1807.
I rejoice to hear you are interested in my protege; he has been my almost constant associate since October, 1805, when I entered Trinity College. His voice first attracted my attention, his countenance fixed it, and his manners attached me to him for ever. He departs for a mercantile house in town in October, and we shall probably not meet till the expiration of my minority, when I shall leave to his decision either entering as a partner through my interest or residing with me altogether. Of course he would in his present frame of mind prefer the latter, but he may alter his opinion previous to that period; however, he shall have his choice. I certainly love him more than any human being, and neither time nor distance have had the least effect on my (in general) changeable disposition. In short we shall put Lady E. Butler and Miss Ponsonby to the blush, Pylades and Orestes out of countenance, and want nothing but a catastrophe like Nisus and Euryalus to give Jonathan and David the ' go by.' He certainly is more attached to me than even I am in return. During the whole of my residence at Cambridge we met every day, summer and winter, without passing one tiresome moment, and separated each time with increasing reluctance."
Eddleston gave Byron a cornelian (brooch-pin) which Byron prized very much, and is said to have kept all his life. He probably refers to it, and to tlue inequality of condition between him and Eddleston, in the following stanza from his poem, The Adieu, written about this time:
And thou, my friend, whose gentle love
Yet thrills my bosom's chords,
How much thy friendship was above
Description's power of words!
Still near my breast thy gift I wear
Which sparkled once with Feeling's tear,
Of Love, the pure, the sacred gem;
Our souls were equal, and our lot
In that dear moment quite forgot;
Let pride alone condemn.
As to the allusion to Nisus and Euryalus, Byron's paraphrase of the episode (from the 9th book of Virgil's Æneid) serves to show his interest in it :
Nisus, the guardian of the portal, stood,
Eager to gild his arms with hostile blood -
Well-skilled in fight the quivering lance to wield,
Or pour his arrows thro' the embattled field:
From Ida torn, he left his Sylvan cave,
And sought a foreign home, a distant grave.
To watch the movements of the Daunian host,
With him Euryalus sustains the post -
No lovelier men adorn'd the ranks of Troy,
And beardless bloom yet graced the gallant boy -
Tho' few the seasons of his youthful life,
As yet a novice in the martial strife,
'Twas his, with beautv, valor's gifts to share -
A soul heroic, as his form was fair.
These burn with one pure flame of generous love;
In peace, in war, united still they move;
Friendship and glory form their joint reward;
And now combined they hold thelr nightly guard.'
[The two then carry out a daring raid on the enemy, in which Euryalus is slain. Nisus, coming to his rescue is-after performing prodigies of valor-slain too.]
Thus Nisus all his fond affection proved -
Dying, revenged the fate of him he loved;
Then on his bosom sought his wonted place,
And death was heavenly in his friend's embrace!
Celestial pair ! if aught my verse can claim,
Wafted on Time's broad pimon, yours is fame!
Ages on ages shall your fate admire,
No future day shall see your names expire,
While stands the Capitol, immortal dome!
And vanquished millions hail their empress, Rome!
Byron's "Death of Calmar and Orla: an Imitation of Ossian", is, like his Nisus and Euryalus," a story of two hero-friends who, refusing to be separated, die together in battle:
In Morven dwelt the chief; a beam of war to Fingal. His steps in the field were marked in blood. Lochlin's sons had fled before his angry spear; but mild was the eye of Calmar; soft was the flow of his yellow locks: they streamed like the meteor of the night. No maid was the sigh of his soul: his thoughts were given to friendship-to dark-haired Orwa, destroyer of heroes! Equal were their swords in battle; but fierce was the pride of Orla-gentle alone to Calmar. Together they dwelt in the cave of Oithona.
[Orla is sent by the King on a mission of danger amid the hosts of the enemy. Calmar insists on accompanying him, in spite of all entreaties to the contrary. They are discovered. A fight ensues, and they are slain.]
Morn glimmers on the hills: no living foe is seen; but the sleepers are many; grim they lie on Erin. The breeze of ocean lifts their locks; yet they do not awake. The hawks scream above their prey.
Whose yellow locks uave o'er the breast of a chief? Bright as the gold of the stranger they mingle with the dark hair of his friend. 'Tis Calmar: he lies on the bosom of Orla. Theirs is one stream of blood. Fierce is the look of gloomy Orla. He breathes not, but his eye is still aflame. It glares in death unclosed. His hand is grasped in Calmar's; but Calmar lives! He lives, though low. "Rise," said the King, "Rise, son of Mora: 'tis mine to heal the wounds of heroes. Calmar may yet bound on the hills of Morven."

"Never more shall Calmar chase the deer of Morven with Orla," said the hero. "What were the chase to me alone? Who should share the spoils of battle with Calmar? Orla is at rest. Rough was thy soul, Orlat Yet soft to me as the dew of morn. It glared on others in lightning: to me a silver beam of night. Bear my sword to blue-eyed Mora; let it hang in my empty hall. It is not pure from blood: but it could not save Orla. Lay me with my friend. Raise the song when I am dead."

[So they are laid by the stream of Lubar, and four grey stones mark the dwelling of Orla and Calmar.]
Byron's friendships, in fact, with young men were so marked that Moore in his "Life and Letters of Lord Byron" seems to have felt it necessary to mention and, to some extent, to explain them:

"During his stay in Greece (in 1810) we find him forming one of those extraordinary friendships-if attachment to persons so inferior to himself can be called by that name-of which I have already mentioned two or three instances in his younger days, and in which the pride of being a protector and the pleasure of exciting gratitude seem to have contributed to his mind the chief, pervading charm. The person whom he now adopted in this manner, and from similar feelings to those which had inspired his early attachments to the cottage boy near Newstead and the young chorister at Cambridge, was a Greek youth, named Nicolo Giraud, the son, I believe, of a widow lady in whose house the artist Lusieri lodged. In this young man he seems to have taken the most lively and even brotherly interest."


Fugitive Pieces, in November 1806
Poems on Various Occasions, in January 1807
Poems Original and Translated, in March 1807
Hours of Idleness, 1807
English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, in March 1809
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage - Cantos I and II, in March 1812
The Giaour, in June 1813
The Bride of Abydos, in December 1813
The Corsair, in January 1814
Lara, in August 1814
Hebrew Melodies, in April 1815
The Seige of Corinth and Parisina, in February 1816
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage - Canto III, in November 1816
The Prisoner of Chillon and Other Poems, in December 1816
Manfred, in June 1817
Beppo, in February, 1818
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage - Canto IV (last), in April 1818
Mazeppa and Ode to Venice, in June 1819
Don Juan - Cantos I and II, in July 1819
Don Juan - Cantos III and IV, in 1821
The Two Foscari, in 1821
Cain, in 1821
Sardanapalus, in 1821
Mazeppa, in 1821
The Island, in 1821
Vision of Judgment, in October 1822
Werner in November 1822.
The Liberal (1822) a short-lived journal with Percy Bysshe Shelley and Leigh Hunt.
Don Juan - Cantos V to XVI, in 1823
(many of his works were not published during Byron's lifetime)

Bacon, Sir Francis * 1561 + 1626 - U.K. Philosopher, statesman, scholar

b. 22 January 1561 
d. 9 April 1626

Bacon did not marry until the late age of forty-eight, and contemporary figures relate that he was by preference homosexual. John Aubrey in hisBrief Lives says quite bluntly that Bacon "was a pederast" and had "ganimeds and favourites" ("pederast" in Renaissance diction meant generally "homosexual" rather than specifically a lover of minors; "ganimed" of course derives from the mythical prince abducted by Zeus to be his cup-bearer and bed-warmer.) The Puritan moralist Sir Simonds D'Ewes (Bacon's fellow Member of Parliament) in his Autobiography and Correspondence discusses Bacon's love for his Welsh serving-men, in particular a "very effeminate-faced youth" whom he calls "his catamite and bed-fellow" ("catamite" is a corruption of "Ganymede").

Even Bacon's mother, Lady Ann Bacon, in a letter to her other sonAnthony (also gay), complains of "that bloody Percy" whom Francis kept "yea as a coach companion and a bed companion," as well as others including Jones, Markes, Enney "and his Welchmen one after another." Lady Ann's major distress was not that her son was gay, but that it violated decorum for a nobleman to allow a servant to sleep in themaster bedroom; she felt that a lower-ranking bedroom would have been more appropriate. 

January 22nd in Queer History

Born this day

Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626), UK

Lord George Byron (1788 –  1824) UK

Sinclair Ross (1908 –  1996) Canadian
Banker / Author

Jaime Humberto Hermosillo (1942 – ) Mexican

Elaine Noble (1944 – ) US
Politician, who became the first openly gay or lesbian person elected to public office, when she won election to the Massasuchetts House of Representatives in November 1974, serving two terms from 1975 - 1978In March 1977, she was part of the first delegation of gay men and lesbians invited to the White House under President Jimmy Carter to discuss issues important to the LGBT community.

Ondrej Nepala (1951 –  1989) Czech
Figure Skater

Gary Frisch (1969 –  2007) UK

Al Start (1969 – ) UK

Saint's day

Saint Walpurga, UK
Abbess, reputed to have grown a beard to avoid being given married off in an unwanted arranged marriage.

Died this day

Elisabeth Marbury (1856 - 1933) US

Claire Waldoff  (1884 - 1957) German
Singer / Entertainer

Marc Blitzstein  (1905 - 1964) US

Barbro Alving (1909 - 1987 ) Swedish
Journalist / Author

James Zappalorti (1945 - 1990)  US
Hate Crime Victim

AJ Antoon (1944 - 1992) US
Theatre Director

George Mosse (1918 - 1999) German/ US
Historian / Author

Craig Claiborne (1920 - 2000 ) US
Restaurant Critic / Food Writer

Sarah Pettit (1966 - 2003 ) US

Doug Blasdell (1962 - 2007) US
Personal Trainer / Reality TV [Work Out]

Sodomy in history, January 22nd


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

January 21st in Queer History

Born this day

Duncan Grant ( 1978 - ? ) UK

Cristobal Balenciaga (1895 –  1972) Spanish
Fashion Designer

John Bodkin Adams (1899 – 1983) UK
Serial Killer

Christian Dior (1905 – 1957) French
Fashion Designer

John Savident – UK

Dallas Taylor (1967 – ) US

Diane Whipple (1968 –  ) US

Tom Katt [David Papaleo] (1970 –  ) US
Bodybuilder / Model / Personal Trainer / Porn

Amy Lame (1971 –  ) US
Presenter / Comedian / Columnist

Jason Wood (? - 2010) UK
Comedian / Singer / Drag Queen

Thomas Berling (1979 – ) Norwegian

Johann Hari (1979 – ) UK
Journalist / Columnist

Scott Tanner (1979 – )  US

Died this day

Lytton Strachey  (1880 - 1932) UK
Author / Poet / Critic

William Alexander Percy (1885 - 1942 ) US
Lawyer / Poet

Sandro Penna (1906 - 1977 ) Italian

James Beard (1903 - 1985 ) US
Chef and food writer. The central figure in the story of the establishment of a gourmet American food identity, Beard was an eccentric personality who brought French cooking to the American middle and upper classes in the 1950s. Beard noted in his memoirs that he knew by the time that he was seven, that he was gay,

Billy Tipton (1914 - 1989 ) US
Pianist / Saxophonist

Peer Raben (1940 - 2007) German

Sodomy in history, January 21st

1915 — A California appellate court upholds the lewd and lascivious acts conviction of a man and ponders human sexuality in a long paragraph.

1952 — The Montana Supreme Court overturns a sodomy conviction because of testimony of other alleged sexual partners of the defendant. In addition, the only evident sex was spanking, something not covered by the sodomy law.

1958 — The District of Columbia Court of Appeals rules that charges of homosexual indecency must be corroborated more stringently than charges of heterosexual

1966 — The Minnesota Supreme Court reverses a sodomy conviction because the public was excluded from the trial and, in dictum, states that a husband and wife are not immune from prosecution for sodomy. indecency.

1970 — A federal court in Texas strikes down the Texas sodomy law as overly broad in its application but, a year later, the U.S. Supreme Court reverses on a technicality.


Monday, 20 January 2014

January 20th in Queer History

Born this day

Pat Parker (1944 – 1989) US

Josh Weston (1973 – ) US

Nina Arsenault (1974 – ) Canadian
Columnist / Actress

Will Young (1979 – ) UK
Singer / Actor

Cort Stevens (1981 – ) US

Ryan Raz (1984 – ) US

Saints Day

Sebastian – icon of homoerotic art.

Died this day

John Minton (1917 - 1957) UK

Sodomy in history, January 20th

January 20

1953 — Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin is arrested in Los Angeles for sex with another man.


Pat Parker (1944 - 1989): "Poet laureate of the Black and Lesbian peoples

b. January 20, 1944 
d. June 19, 1989
I'm waiting for the revolution that will let me take all my parts.

"This loud and rich-mouthed poet," Lyndie Brimstone writes of Pat Parker in Feminist Review, "who planted her feet firmly on platforms all over America and demanded that her audiences, whoever they may be, pay attention, was not only working class, she was black and lesbian: the very first to refuse to compromise and speak openly from all her undiluted experience." Parker was a contemporary of such writers as Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, and LeRoi Jones/Amira Baraka. Until her early death from cancer in 1989, she was not only a highly visible black Lesbian poet - Adrian Oktenberg, writing in the Women's Review of Books, called her "the poet laureate of the Black and Lesbian peoples" - but a committed activist in radical politics and community issues. In addition to urgent, angry poems against racism, sexism, and homophobia, Parker wrote "exquisitely sensual love poems," Brimstone reported.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

January 19th in Queer History

Born this day

Patricia Highsmith (1921 – 1995) US

Pat Patterson (1941 – ) Canadian

Stan Persky (1941 – ) Canadian
Columnist / Author

Janis Joplin (1943 – 1970 ) US

Marshall Kirk McKusick (1954 –) US
Computer Programmer

Rob Cryston (1971 – ) US

Steve Balderson (1975 – ) US

Natalie Cook ( 1975 – ) Australian
Beach Volleyball

Coral Smith (1979 – ) US
Reality TV [Real World]

Luke MacFarlane (1980 – ) Canadian

Leo Babsky (1982 – ) UK
Sculptor / Artist

Died this day

Max Adrian (1903 - 1973 ) UK
Actor / Singer

Morris Kight (1919 - 2003) US

K Sello Duiker (1974 - 2005 ) South African
Writer, whose debut novel, "Thirteen Cents", won the 2001 Commonwealth Writers Prize for best first book written by an African writer. He was a pioneer among Black South African writers in tackling the taboo subject of homosexuality, and male-to-male sexual violence.

Gary Downie  (1925 - 2006 ) UK
Production Manager

Sodomy in history, January 19th

1851 — The "State of Deseret," better known as Utah, enacts a criminal code that makes sodomy illegal only between males, and sets the penalty at a prison term and/or fine in the discretion of the court.

1887 — Newspapers report an apparent blackmail ring in Greenville, Ohio that leads to seven indictments and one conviction for sodomy, but the Governor of Ohio pardons the one convicted.

1897 — The Missouri Supreme Court upholds a conviction for assault to commit sodomy of a St. Louis police officer who attempted sodomy with another male after threatening to arrest him unless he accompanied him to a lumber yard, where the attempt was made.

1900 — An Ohio newspaper reports that a man was arrested for sex with his 13-year-old male companion. Both claim that the younger partner’s mother "gave" him to the other.

1949 — The Illinois Supreme Court overturns the contempt citation of a man convicted of consensual sex with another man for refusing to be interviewed by a psychiatrist under the state’s psychopathic offender law. The trial court held him in contempt, then tried and jailed him after he would not give in.

1995 — The Idaho Court of Appeals rules that the sodomy law can not be applied to married couples.


Saturday, 18 January 2014

January 18th in Queer History

Born this day

Cary Grant  (1904 - 1986 ) UK/US
Archibald Alexander Leach, better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English actor who later took U.S. citizenship. Known for his transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor and "dashing good looks", Grant is considered one of classic Hollywood's definitive leading men.

Grant was married five times, but some, including Hedda Hopper and screenwriter Arthur Laurents, have said that Grant was bisexual, the latter writing that Grant "told me he threw pebbles at my window one night but was luckless". Grant allegedly was involved with costume designer Orry-Kelly when he first moved to Manhattan, and lived with Randolph Scott off and on for twelve years. Richard Blackwell wrote that Grant and Scott were "deeply, madly in love", and alleged eyewitness accounts of their physical affection have been published.

Danny Kaye (1913 – 1987) US
Actor / Singer / Dancer

Betty Berzon (1928 –  2006) US
Author / Psychotherapist

James Stoll (1936 – 1994) US Minister

Tony Holland (1940 –  2007) UK
Screenwriter/ Actor

Bill Lippert (1950 – ) US
Politician / Activist

Giz Watson (1957 – ) UK / Australian

Ace Hanson (1978 – ) US Porn

Died this day

Archduke Ludwig Viktor  (1842 – 1919)  Austrian
Aristocrat, the youngest brother of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph. Despite his mother's attempts to arrange a marriage for him with Duchess Sophie Charlotte in Bavaria, youngest sister of Empress Elisabeth he remained a bachelor all his life. As a result of his very public homosexuality and transvestitism, and prolonged visits to the Central Bathhouse in Vienna, his brother Emperor Franz Joseph finally forbade him to stay in the capital.

Adolf von Hildebrand (1847 - 1921 ) German?
Sculptor / Architect

Gladys Bentley (1907 - 1960 ) US

Tom Dooley (1927 –  1961) US

Chester Kallman (1921 - 1975 ) US
Poet / Translator

Sir Cecil Beaton (1904 - 1980 )

Wilfrid Brambell (1912 - 1985) UK

Bruce Chatwin (1940 - 1989 ) UK
Journalist / Author

Leonor Fini  (1907 - 1996) Argentine

Died this day

Sodomy in history, January 18th

1923 — The Virginia Supreme Court interprets the 1916 oral sex law literally and reverses the conviction of a man and woman arrested for oral sex, saying that only people of the same sex can be prosecuted under the law.

1949 — A California appellate court upholds the oral copulation conviction of a man over his contention that he "was just giving the kid a blow job."

1965 — An Ohio appellate court finds unconstitutionally vague the state’s law banning solicitation for an "unnatural sexual act."

1971 — A California appellate court overturns an oral copulation conviction because the undercover police officer making the arrest allowed himself to be fellated before making the arrest.

1989 — The Kansas Supreme Court rejects the contention that a man convicted of sodomy was "married" to his partner, thus blocking his prosecution under the state’s discriminatory sodomy law.


Friday, 17 January 2014

January 17th in Queer History

Born this day

Oscar Browning (1837 –  1923) UK
Author / Historian

Ronald Firbank (1886 – 1926) UK

Nils Asther (1897 – 1981) Swedish

Peggy Gilbert (1905 –  2007) US
Musician / Band Leader

Robert de Niro Sr. (1922 – 1993) US
Abstract expressionist painter and the father of actor Robert De Niro.

Tom Dooley (1927 –  1961) US

Jean Barraque (1928 – 1973) French
Composer / Author

Denis O’Hare (1962 – ) US
Actor / Singer

Chris Cole (1964 – ) US

Stephin Merritt (1966 – ) US

Nici Sterling (1968 – ) UK

Kenny Greene (1969 –  2001) US
Singer / Songwriter / Record Producer

Ann Wolfe (1971 – ) US

Jake Deckard (1972 – ) US
Porn / Director

Tom Dolby (1975 –  ) US
Author / Journalist / Editor

Stefan Petzner (1981 – ) Austrian

Died this day

TH White (1906 - 1964) UK

Helen Stephens (1918 - 1994) US
Shot Put / Sprinter / Discus / Softball / Baseball / Basketball / Manager

Barbara Jordan (1936 - 1996) US Politician

Robert Eads (1945 - 1999) US Documentary Subject [Southern Comfort]

Basil Hoskins (1929 - 2005 ) UK

Sodomy in history, January 17th

1977 — The Arkansas Supreme Court rules that the drunk tank of the local jail is a public place for sexual purposes.

1979 — The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals upholds a "crime against nature" conviction even though the prosecuting witness denied all accusations against the defendant.

1983 — The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the Arkansas sodomy law against privacy and discrimination challenges.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Susan Sontag, Author and Commentator

b. January 16, 1933
d. December 28, 2004
To me, literature is a calling, even a kind of salvation. It connects me with an enterprise that is over 2,000 years old.

Susan Sontag spent her childhood in Tucson, Arizona and Los Angeles, California. A precocious child who excelled in academics, Sontag graduated from high school at age 15. She earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago. Sontag pursued graduate work in literature, philosophy and theology at Harvard University and Saint Anne's College, Oxford.
In 1950, at age 17, Sontag married Philip Rieff, a professor of sociology theory. Two years later, Sontag gave birth to her only child, David Reiff. After her divorce nine years later, Sontag never remarried.
Sontag began her writing career at age 30 with "The Benefactor" (1963). Literary critics consider her critically acclaimed short story "The Way We Live Now" (1986) a monumental work of literature on the subject of AIDS. It was selected for inclusion in John Updike's "The Best American Short Stories of the Century" (1999).
In addition to writing six works of fiction, including her best selling novel "The Volcano Lover" (1992), Sontag produced her most celebrated work as an essayist. The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, The Nation and the London Review of Books have published her provocative essays.
Sontag kept her sexuality mostly private. In an interview with Out Magazine, she discussed her reluctance to live an openly gay life: "Maybe I could have given comfort to some people if I had dealt with the subject of my private sexuality more, but it's never been my prime mission to give comfort, unless somebody's in drastic need. I'd rather give pleasure, or shake things up." Sontag had several committed relationships with women, including her decade long relationship with photographer Annie Leibovitz.
On December 28, 2004, Sontag lost her battle with cancer. Her Village Voice obituary read: "She was the indispensable voice of moral responsibility, perceptual clarity, passionate (and passionately reasonable) advocacy: for aesthetic pleasure, for social justice, for unembarrassed hedonism, for life against death."
Paddock, Lisa and Carl Rollyson. Susan Sontag: The Making of an Icon. W. W. Norton & Company, 2000
“Susan Sontag.” July 3, 2007
Selected Works
A Susan Sontag Reader (1982)
Against Interpretation and Other Essays (1968)
Alice in Bed (1993)
At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches (2007)
Brother Carl (1974)
Cage-Cunningham-Johns: Dancers on a Plane (1990)
Conversations with Susan Sontag (1995)
Death Kit (1967)
Duet for Cannibals (1970)
I, Etcetera (1977)
Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors (1988)
In America (1999)
On Photography (1976)
Regarding the Pain of Others (2003)
Styles of Radical Will (1969)
The Benefactor (1963)
The Story of the Eye (1979)
The Volcano Lover (1992)
The Way We Live Now (1991)
Trip to Hanoi (1969)
Under the Sign of Saturn (1980)
Where the Stress Falls (2001)