Table of Contents

CanadianGay
presents
THIS DAY IN GAY HISTORY
based on: The White Crane Institute's 'Gay Wisdom', Gay Birthdays, Gay For Today, Famous GLBT, glbt-Gay Encylopedia, Today in Gay History, Wikipedia, and more …

Collected by Ted

February 8

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1630 – One of the most learned men of his age, Pierre-Daniel Huet was a polymath—a philosopher, a scientist, a novelist, a cleric, and a member of the Académie française.

Pierre-Daniel Huet was born in the city of Caen in Normandy.At the age of eight he was sent to study with the Jesuits at the nearby Collège du Mont, where he immediately proved himself a brilliant student. He excelled in both sciences and letters, quickly learning Latin and Greek and also developing an enduring love for French literature, especially poetry.

In his early twenties he traveled north, first to Holland and then on to Sweden. In the Netherlands he met and had a love affair with Alexandre Morus. The two young men both had literary aspirations and encouraged each other in efforts to write poetry—enjoying some success. Indeed, Morus later went on to establish a modest reputation as a writer of Latin poetry.

Arriving in Sweden in 1652, Huet was received by Queen Christina, known as the "Minerva of the North" for her erudition and enthusiastic patronage of scholarship. Huet also enjoyed a very successful career at the French court. King Louis XIV granted him a pension in 1663. In 1670 Huet became the tutor of the king's son, the dauphin Louis, a post for which he was exceptionally well qualified.

Huet had founded an academy of sciences in Caen in 1661. There he pursued his numerous interests, studying and writing on anatomy, zoology, astronomy, and chemistry, as well as mathematics.

Huet was the author of the novel Le faux Ynca, ou Diane de Castro, probably written around 1667 but only published posthumously in 1728. He also wrote Traité de l'origine des Romans (Treatise of the origin of novels) (1666), the first history of the novel in Europe.

Noted as a philologist, Huet not only wrote poetry in Latin and Greek but also made numerous translations of and commentaries on ancient texts. His projects included Notae ad Anthologiam epigrammatum Graecorum (Notes on an anthology of epigrams of the Greeks) (1700), an annotated collection of mostly pederastic verse.

Huet wanted a career in the church from his earliest years, but it was only in 1671 that he received minor orders. He was named abbot in 1678 and seven years later was chosen by the king to be bishop of Soissons. Pope Innocent XI, who, as Philippe-Joseph Salazar puts it, "had no time for sodomites. . . nor for humanists who were too well versed in canon law," refused to confirm him in the post.

Under the succeeding pope, Alexander VIII, Huet was created bishop of Avranches in 1689. After ten years in that position he retired to the Jesuits' house in the Faubourg Saint-Jacques (a neighborhood that, as it happens, is now a center of Paris's gay community). Huet spent his last two decades in the Jesuits' facility, where, as Salazar states, "he held court, surrounded by younger men who seem to have helped him pass sweet old years, a seventeenth-century André Gide."

1791New Hampshire restricts its sodomy law to male-male acts only, and retains the death penalty.

1798The Commonwealth of Kentucky adopts a statute reducing the penalty for same-sex intercourse from the death penalty to 2-5 years in the jail and penitentiary house.

1826Delaware lowers the penalty for sodomy from death to 60 lashes given publicly, a $1,000 fine, and three years of solitary confinement in prison.

1828Jules Verne, born (d.1905); a French author who pioneered the science-fiction genre, he is best known for novels such as Journey to the Center of The Earth (1864), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in 80 Days (1873). Verne wrote about space, air and underwater travel before air travel and practical submarines were invented, and before practical means of space travel had been devised. He is the third most translated author in the world, according to Index Translationum. Some of his books have been made into films. Verne, along with H.G. Wells, is often popularly referred to as the "Father of Science Fiction".

Some historians and literary critics have theorized certain pederastic elements in the life and work of the writer. Jean Paulhan describes two main themes identified in Verne's work. First, that "in life we must, little by little, substitute in place of our natural father an older and better man than ourselves," and later that we will need likewise to substitute, in place of our wife, a male friend worthy of esteem and admiration. The second theme is that "the entire opus of Jules Verne has, as its purpose and secret, pederasty." His theme is picked up by a later work, that of Marc Soriano, who sees elements of "latent homosexuality, sublimated pederasty, and misogyny" in Verne's writings.

Verne's close and lasting friendship with Aristide Briand, whom he met in Nantes in 1876 when the young man was a fifteen year old lycéen and schoolmate of his son Michel, is also cited as a possible example of his attraction to youths. He frequently picked up Briand from the lycée and brought him to his house, and also used him as a character in A Long Vacation. Michel Larivière, in his Homosexuels et bisexuels célèbres points out an almost universal theme in the novels of "an older and more experienced man who offers support and affection to a young and very handsome boy." Examples of such pairs are Lord Glevanan with the young Robert Grant, in The Children of Captain Grant, the dashing Pencroft with the fifteen year old Herbert Brown, the "brave boy" whom he "loved as if he had been his own child," in The Mysterious Island, and Kaw-djer and Halg in The Survivors of the 'Jonathan,' of whose love he writes:
"Halg was the only one able to move this disaffected man, who knew no love other than the one he felt for a child... Is it because they have some dim notion of this disproportion that, despite its resplendent beauty, such an emotion astonishes more than it charms other men, and seems inhuman to them, even though it is above them?"

Another indication of Verne's pederastic or homosexual leanings has been suggested in his purported lack of tolerance for women, who are largely absent from his works, or reduced to insignificance, or subjected to a ferocious misogyny. Likewise, the incident of the attack by his nephew, with whom he had entertained a long term and affectionate relationship, and which was hushed up by the local press, is held to be indicative of either a sexual relationship gone bad, or else an attack of jealousy at the arrival of a new love interest.

In a recent biography, his translator, William Butcher, in presenting evidence for Verne's homosexual leanings, also cites the fact that he only fathered one child, spent large periods of his life and both major journeys in the company of his close friend, the composer Aristide Hignard who was probably homosexual himself, and spiced up his letters to his editor, Pierre-Jules Hetzel, with double-entendres about oral sex.

 

1892 – The English poet, printer, and artist Ralph Nicholas Chubb was born on this date (d.1960). Heavily influenced by Whitman, Blake, and the Romantics, his work was the creation of a highly intricate personal mythology, one that was anti-materialist and sexually revolutionary.

Even at an early stage, Chubb's lifelong obsession with adolescent males was beginning to become apparent. He was forever haunted by the memory of a young chorister at St Albans who disappeared from Chubb's life just as he had summoned up the courage to speak to him. Similarly, a brief sexual relationship with another boy when Ralph was 19 seemed to serve as a template for future visions of paradise.

Chubb's books become progressively more self-involved and paranoid. Seeking to articulate his pederastic desires, he created a personal mythology which explained everything in terms only he could understand. Nonetheless, Chubb's work is of fascinating psychological significance; each of the various angels, knights, seers, and boy-gods in his dream world represents an aspect of his introspective and persecuted self.

Briefly summarized, Chubb's vision was a prophecy of the redemption of 'Albion', or England, by a boy-god, of whom Ralph claimed himself to be the prophet and herald. This echoes an earlier announcement to be found in The Heavenly Cupid:

I announce a secret event as tremendous and mysterious as any that has occurred in the spiritual history of the world. I announce the inauguration of a Third Dispensation, the dispensation of the Holy Ghost on earth, and the visible advent thereof on earth in the form of a Young Boy of thirteen years old, naked perfect and unblemished.

Chubb, like many other artists of his generation, resented science for its intrusion into his imagination. He disparaged the scientists, orthodox theologians, and politicians of world, accusing them of squelching his personal thirst for liberty. In 1927 he wrote: "Existence, besides being a miracle, is a symbol. Albeit here for inscrutable purposes the spirit is only to be discerned as it were in a distorting-glass." (The Book of God's Madness)

 

1926 – The American writer Neal Cassady was born on this date (d.1968). He was a major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. He served as the model for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road.

As a youth, Cassady was repeatedly involved in petty crime. He was arrested for car theft when he was 14, for shoplifting and car theft when he was 15, and for car theft and fencing when he was 16.

In 1941, the 15-year old Cassady met Justin W. Brierly, a prominent Denver educator. Brierly was well known as a mentor of promising young men, and, impressed by Cassady's intelligence, Brierly took an active role in Cassady's life over the next few years. He helped admit Cassady to East High School where he taught, encouraged and supervised his reading, and found employment for him. Cassady continued his criminal activities, however, and was repeatedly arrested from 1942 to 1944; on at least one of these occasions, he was released by law enforcement into Brierly's safekeeping.

In June 1944, Cassady was arrested for receipt of stolen property, and served eleven months of a one-year prison sentence. He and Brierly actively exchanged letters during this period even through Cassady's intermittent incarcerations; these represent Cassady's earliest surviving letters. Brierly, apparently a closeted homosexual, is also believed to have been responsible for Cassady's first homosexual experience.

In October 1945, after being released from prison, he married the fifteen-year-old LuAnne Henderson. In 1947, Cassady and his wife moved to New York City, where they met Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg through Hal Chase, another protégé of Justin W. Brierly's. He soon became friends with them and their acquaintances, some of whom later became members of the Beat Generation. He had a sexual relationship with Ginsberg that lasted off and on for the next twenty years, and he traveled cross-country with both Kerouac and Ginsberg on multiple occasions.

The volume of Ginsberg's writings to and about Cassady is enormous. He dedicated poems to Cassady and his letters are filled with his longing for Cassady.

Cassady first met author Ken Kesey during the summer of 1962, eventually becoming one of the Merry Pranksters, a group who formed around Kesey in 1964 and were proponents of the use of psychedelic drugs. During 1964, he served as the main driver of the bus Furthur, which was immortalized by Tom Wolfe's book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Cassady was also the inspiration for the main character of Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.


Neal Cassady with Jack Kerouac

On February 3, 1968, Cassady attended a wedding party in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. Large quantities of drugs were consumed by Cassady and other guests. After the party he went walking along a railroad track to reach the next town, but passed out in the cold and rainy night wearing nothing but a T-shirt and jeans. In the morning, he was found in a coma by the track. Cassady was then transported to the closest hospital, where he died a few hours later on February 4, four days short of his forty-second birthday.

Cassady's autobiographical novel The First Third was published posthumously in 1971, three years after his death. His complete surviving letters are published in Grace Beats Karma: Letters from Prison (Blast, 1993) and Neal Cassady: Collected Letters, 1944-1967 (Penguin, 2007).

 

1931 – The American film actor James Dean was born on this date (d.1955). Dean's status as a cultural icon is best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause, in which he starred as troubled high school rebel Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his star power were as the awkward loner Cal Trask in East of Eden, and as the surly, racist farmer Jett Rink in Giant. His enduring fame and popularity rests on only three films, his entire starring output. It's interesting to note one of his rare turns on Broadway included acting in André Gide's The Immoralist.

Today, Dean is often considered an icon because of his "experimental" take on life, which included what some refer to as an "ambivalent sexuality." There have been several accounts of Dean's sexual relationships with both men and women. William Bast was one of Dean's closest friends, a fact acknowledged by Dean's family. Dean's first biographer (1956), Bast was his roommate at UCLA and later in New York, and knew Dean throughout the last five years of his life. Bast has recently published a revealing update of his first book, in which, after years of successfully dodging the question as to whether he and Dean were sexually involved, he finally admitted that they were. In this second book Bast describes the difficult circumstances of their involvement and also deals frankly with some of Dean's other Gay relationships, notably the actor's friendship with Rogers Brackett, the influential producer of radio dramas who encouraged Dean in his career and provided him with useful professional contacts.

Journalist Joe Hyams suggests that any sexual acts Dean might have involved himself in appear to have been strictly "for trade," as a means of advancing his career. Val Holley notes that, according to Hollywood biographer Lawrence J. Quirk, Gay Hollywood columnist Mike Connolly "would put the make on the most prominent young actors, including Robert Francis, Guy Madison, Anthony Perkins, Nick Adams and James Dean."

However, the "trade only" notion is debated by Bast and other Dean biographers. Indeed, aside from Bast's account of his own relationship with Dean, Dean's fellow biker and "Night Watch" member John Gilmore claims he and Dean "experimented" sexually on one occasion in New York, and it is difficult to see how Dean, then already in his twenties, would have viewed this as a "trade" means of advancing his career.

In his Natalie Wood biography, Gavin Lambert, himself part of the Hollywood Gay circles of the 50s and 60s, describes Dean as being Bisexual. Rebel director Nicholas Ray has also gone on record to say that Dean was Bisexual. Consequently, Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon's book Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day (2001) includes an entry on James Dean.

Dean avoided the draft by registering as a "homosexual," then classified by the US government as a mental disorder. When questioned about his orientation, he is reported to have said, "Well, I'm certainly not going through life with one hand tied behind my back."

 

 Jack Larson with George "Superman" Reeves

1933 – The actor, librettist, screenwriter and producer Jack Larson was born on this date (d.2015). He was raised in Pasadena, California and is best known for his portrayal of Jimmy Olsen in the TV series Adventures of Superman.


Jimmy and Clark

He has said that he found the role of the cub reporter to be a handicap due to its typecasting of him. He did not do much acting after that, mostly behind-the-scenes work — writing and production.

He was a guest actor on the series Lois and Clark as an aged Jimmy Olsen in the episode 'Brutal Youth', first broadcast in 1996. He had also appeared in an early episode of the TV series, Superboy.

He also had a quick cameo in an American Express Card commercial featuring Jerry Seinfeld and an animated Superman, (directed by David Kellogg).

In 2006, he appeared in Bryan Singer's film Superman Returns in a cameo role as "Bo the Bartender"; it was rumored prior to the film's release that his role would actually be Suicide Slum resident and Superman fan, Bibbo Bibbowski, a supporting character from the modern Superman comics. In one of Larson's Superman Returns scenes, where characters celebrate Superman's rescue of a plane, his character is shown wearing a bow tie in the style of Jimmy Olsen and hugging the film's incarnation of Jimmy Olsen played by Sam Huntington.

As a writer, Larson wrote the libretto to the opera Lord Byron to music by Virgil Thomson. Larson was the life-partner of director James Bridges. Their relationship lasted 35 years until Bridges' death on June 6, 1993. Prior to that, Larson was the companion of the acting legend Montgomery Clift.

He died on September 20, 2015 at the age of 87.

1945France: The administration of General Charles de Gaulle decides to maintain the Vichy government’s decree establishing a discriminatory age of consent for same-sex acts.

1949Georgia reduces the penalty for sodomy from compulsory life imprisonment to 1-10 years.

 

1951 – Today's the birthday of Rosario Crocetta, the former mayor of the Sicilian city of Gela, and the current President of Sicily. He was the first openly gay mayor in Italy when he became mayor of Gela in 2003. He became President of Sicily in 2012. Crocetta has received death threats in the face of his anti-mafia corruption crusades.

Throughout his political career Crocetta has been a forthright proponent of the fight against organized crime in Sicily. Consequently, he has been the target of several Mafia attacks.

In 2003, a plot to kill Crocetta during the patronal feast of the Immaculate Conception involving a Lithuanian killer was thwarted by the local Carabinieri. After that episode, Crocetta was placed under security.

In 2008, a failed plan to kill Crocetta was made public by the district attorney of Caltanissetta; as a result, Crocetta was immediately placed under tighter security.

In 2010, a new assassination plot against Crocetta was thwarted, and five people affiliated with the local Mafia were arrested.

 

1956Danny McWilliams is a New York City-based comedian, author, director, and actor, born in Brooklyn, New York. He performed with Funny Gay Males (1988-1993, 2001-2003) and has toured with them throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. He has appeared on The Joan Rivers Show, Comedy Central, The Howard Stern Show, The Joey Reynolds Show and WOR 710AM NY. In addition, he co-authored Growing Up Gay: From Left Out to Coming Out (1995) with fellow Funny Gay Males troupe members Bob Smith and Jaffe Cohen.

He has also performed his one-man show Twelve Angry Women at the Solo Arts Group in New York City, and he performs weekly at The Duplex Cabaret Cabaret & Piano Bar and other clubs throughout New York City.

 

1959John Weir, born in Tarrytown, New York, is an American writer whose work focuses heavily on homosexual themes. He is the author of two novels, The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket (1989), which won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Debut Fiction at the 2nd Lambda Literary Awards in 1990; and What I Did Wrong (2006).

The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket tells the story of a man's experience with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Weir's follow up, What I Did Wrong, concerns a gay English professor who finds himself fixating on his much younger, straight student.

In the early 1990s, he was a Contributing Editor at Details; and he has published nonfiction in The New York Times, Spin, Rolling Stone, and elsewhere. His short fiction has appeared in Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, Subtropics, and elsewhere.

In 1991, in conjunction with ACT UP New York's Day of Desperation action to draw attention to government and media neglect of the global AIDS crisis, Weir and several fellow activists interrupted The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.

Weir is associate professor of English at Queens College of the City University of New York, where he has taught English and Creative Writing since 1993, and where he teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation.

 

1963Joshua Kadison, born in Los Angeles, California, is an American singer-songwriter, pianist, and writer. He is perhaps best known for the Top 40 hits "Jessie" and "Beautiful in My Eyes" from his debut album Painted Desert Serenade. He is the son of actress Gloria Castillo, who was the inspiration behind his song "Mama's Arms."

According to an early press release by EMI, "His maverick ways paid off in 1993 when EMI released his self-penned debut Painted Desert Serenade, a collection of introspective story songs including the break-through single "Jessie" and "When A Woman Cries," already covered by legends Joe Cocker and Smokey Robinson. "I was so used to being outside of whatever was going on that I didn't even think I'd get a record deal, much less have my songs played on the radio." This, from the young man who received the BMI Award for one of the most played songs of 1994. His international hit "Beautiful in My Eyes" is often played at weddings and peaked at #19 in the U.S. Billboard charts.

His second album, Delilah Blue, was less commercially successful. His collection of songs were closer to sonic novels than the ballads featured in his first album; he used John Steinbeck's book The Pearl as inspiration for a song of the same name. The single "Take it on Faith" failed to reach the Billboard Top 10, and shortly after, EMI voided its contract with Kadison.

In 1998, he published his book 17 Ways To Eat A Mango: A Discovered Journal Of Life On An Island Of Miracles and the 5-track-album Saturday Night In Storyville on his own label Storyville Records, selling it predominantly from his website. It was well received in Germany, where he continues to have a huge following. In 1999 he released another album via his website called "Troubador In A Timequake," which was the first CD to include "My Father's Son." He is quoted to have said that it was a song written about his father, Ellis Kadison, who had recently died.

Shortly after, he signed a new deal with EMI Germany and his album Vanishing America was released. The album, released in May 2001, dealt with his disillusionment with the lost values of America. The album was a collection of songs that told stories about people not realizing their own beauty and full potential. Ironically, the album was never distributed in the United States.

In 2005, Kadison relaunched his career on his self-run website "Radio Humanity." He later bought back his previous website address and re-launched it. The Venice Beach Sessions was released as a download-only album in two parts, including a selection titled "Over The Sad Songs;" this was thought to be inspired by his recently dissolved relationship. Kadison has long been openly bisexual, which he once made mention of on his website's forum. The discussion which ensued caused him to shut down the site for some time before it was eventually relaunched. His sexuality does not seem to have affected his popularity and sales one way or the other, and certainly has not diminished either.

 Added 2023

 

1975 – Jonah Blechman is an American actor. He has appeared in This Boy's Life with Leonardo DiCaprio and stars in Another Gay Movie alongside Jonathan Chase and Michael Carbonaro, and the sequel Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild!.

He is probably most known for an infamous kiss with Leonardo DiCaprio in the film This Boy’s Life.

Jonah Blechman's acting career first began when he was just 16 years old. His career began with roles in "The Commish" (1991-95) and "Walker, Texas Ranger" (CBS, 1992-2001). He also appeared in the TV movie "Empty Cradle" (ABC, 1993-94).

Following the release of Another Gay Movie, Blechman came out as gay.

 

 Jim Verraros (dark hair) and Bill Brennan

1983 – Today's the birthday of American singer, songwriter and actor Jim Verraros, born in Chicago, Illinois as James Verraros. Both his parents are deaf.

The responsibility of having to interpret for his parents led Verraros to relating more with people older than him, than those his own age. He discovered that he is gay when he was around twelve or thirteen years old, and his sexuality led to him being bullied during middle school. High school marked an improvement for him - he became active in theater and went on to attend Monmouth College on a theater scholarship.

Verraros was a participant in the first season of the American broadcast of American Idol (2002) and starred in the independent Gay film Eating Out (2004).

Prior to competing on American Idol, Verraros kept an online journal, in which he was open about being gay. The Advocate, an American LGBT-interest magazine, discovered this journal and contacted Fox with a request to interview Verraros.

Verraros quickly became a celebrity in the American Gay press because of a controversy that erupted when Fox Broadcasting Company made him remove Gay-related comments from his network-sponsored American Idol web site in the summer of 2002. However, Jim Verraros later stated that "it wasn't because I was gay. It was because they thought I was trying to gain more votes and have that little extra edge." While Verraros was out to fellow contestants and Idol employees, he did not mention his homosexuality on air. Following the end of the show and the subsequent tour, Verraros came out publicly in an article in The Advocate.

In 2005, Verraros met enterpreneur Bill Brennan through Myspace. After learning that they only lived twenty minutes away from each other, the two of them decided to meet in person. Four years later, on September 6, 2009, they married each other in a very small ceremony in their home state of Illinois – despite gay marriage being illegal there. They made it legal on July 24, 2011 in New York.

1990 – US Senate passes hate-crimes statistics act, requiring the federal government to compile data on hate crimes against gays and lesbians. It’s the first US law that recognizes gays and lesbians.

1994The European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg, approves a resolution initiated by Claudia Roth, representing Germany’s Green Party, that affirms a broadly defined gay and lesbian rights agenda, including the right to marry.

 
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