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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

January 31

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

 

1797 – Austrian composer Franz Schubert was born (d.1828). He wrote some six hundred Lieder, nine symphonies (including the famous "Unfinished Symphony"), liturgical music, operas and a large body of chamber and solo piano music. He is particularly noted for original melodic and harmonic writing.

While Schubert had a close circle of friends and associates who admired his work (including his teacher Antonio Salieri and the prominent singer Johann Michael Vogl), wider appreciation of his music during his lifetime was limited at best. He was never able to secure adequate permanent employment, and for most of his career he relied on the support of friends and family. Interest in Schubert's work increased dramatically in the decades following his death.

Schubert was significantly influenced by his close-knit group of male friends, known as the Schubert Circle. His relationships with an older school friend Joseph von Spaun, the young poet Johann Mayrhofer, and the wealthy young sensualist Franz von Schober were the most important of his life. He and Schober often lived together for extended periods.

Citing the composer's dissipation, his lack of female love interests, his passionate male friendships and several oblique references in his surviving correspondence, Maynard Solomon has argued that Schubert's primary erotic orientation was homosexual. The immediate reaction on the part of many musicologists and music critics, who often simply refused to consider the evidence, revealed a deep-seated homophobia among many specialists in classical music. But in recent years the notion of a gay Schubert has become if not commonplace, at least much less controversial. Schubert's alleged homosexuality and its effect on his music are subjects of continuing debate among music historians and critics.

 

1902 – American legend of stage and screen Tallulah Bankhead (d.1960) was born in Huntsville, Alabama and show business has never been the same.

Bankhead came from a powerful Democratic political family in the South in general and Alabama in particular. Her father was the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1936-1940.

In 1923, she made her debut on the London stage, where she was to appear in over a dozen plays in the next eight years, most famously, The Dancers. Her fame as an actress was ensured in 1924 when she played in the 1925 Pulitzer Prize winning They Knew What They Wanted. She was famous not only as an actress but also for her many affairs, infectious personality and witticisms like "There is less to this than meets the eye" and "I'm as pure as the driven slush." She was brash, brazen and apt to say anything. And usually did.

This trait made her widely popular. She was known for her enthusiastically promiscuous behavior and had the reputation of being sexually available to anyone she found attractive, famous or not. By the end of the decade, she was one of the West End's — and England's — best-known and most notorious celebrities.

Promiscuity came naturally to Bankhead and she went to bed with anyone who was interested. She professed to having a ravenous appetite for sex, but not for a particular type. "I've tried several varieties of sex. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic. And the others give me either stiff neck or lockjaw," she said.

She returned to the US in 1931 to be Paramount Pictures' "next Marlene Dietrich". Critics agree that her acting was flat, that she was unable to dominate the camera. Bankhead's first film was the George Cukor directed Tarnished Lady (1931). Cukor and Bankhead became fast friends. Bankhead herself was not very interested in making films. The opportunity to make $50,000 per film, however, was too good to pass up.

Many other actions in her life led to her reputation, of which she never made excuses. She was outspoken and uninhibited but she successfully avoided scandal related to her affairs, regardless of the gender of her lovers. Bankhead circulated widely in the celebrity crowd of her day, and was a party favorite for outlandish stunts such as underwear-less cartwheels in a skirt or entering a soirée stark naked. She was known to have stripped off her clothes on several occasions while attending parties, which shocked people in attendance, but nonetheless she remained magnetic to those who knew her well. Her personality, it was said, made her almost irresistible as a friend, or a lover.

Rumors about her sex life have lingered for years, and she was linked romantically with many notable female personalities of the day, including Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Eva Le Gallienne, Laurette Taylor, Hattie McDaniel, and Alla Nazimova, as well as writer Mercedes de Acosta and singer Billie Holiday. She was reportedly extremely excited when she was first able to meet the elusive Garbo, but whether they were sexually involved has never been determined beyond a doubt.

In 1933, Bankhead nearly died following a five-hour emergency hysterectomy for an advanced case of gonorrhea, which she claimed she contracted either from George Raft or Gary Cooper. Only 70 pounds when she left the hospital, she stoically said to her doctor, "Don't think this has taught me a lesson!"

On Broadway, Bankhead's career stalled in unmemorable plays until she played the cold and ruthless Regina Giddensin Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes (1939) a role she was, perhaps, born to play.

More success and the same award followed her 1942 performance in Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, in which Bankhead played Sabina, the housekeeper and temptress, opposite Fredric March and Florence Eldridge (Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus, and also husband and wife offstage).

Tallulah Bankhead's career slowed in the mid-1950s, but she never faded from the public eye. Although she had become a heavy drinker and consumer of sleeping pills (she was a life-long insomniac), Bankhead continued to perform in the 1950s and 1960s. Her last motion picture was a British horror film Fanatic (1965) co-starring Stefanie Powers, which was released in the U.S. as Die! Die! My Darling!. Her last appearance on screen came in March 1967 as the villainous Black Widow in the Batman TV series. She died in 1968.

1913Oregon 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.

 

1942Derek Jarman was an English film director, stage designer, artist, and writer. (d.1994) Jarman's first films were experimental super 8mm shorts, a form he never entirely abandoned, and later developed further.

Jarman first became known as a stage designer getting a break into the film industry as production designer for Ken Russell's The Devils (1970), and later made his debut in 'overground' narrative filmmaking with the groundbreaking Sebastiane (1976) , arguably the first British film to feature positive images of gay sexuality, and the first film entirely in Latin.

After making the unconventional Shakespeare adaptation The Tempest in 1979, Jarman spent seven years making experimental super 8mm films and attempting to raise money for Caravaggio. Finally released in 1986, the film attracted a comparatively wide audience (and is still, barring the cult hit Jubilee, probably his most widely-known work), partly due to the involvement, for the first time, of the British television company Channel 4 in funding and distribution.

On December 22, 1986 he was diagnosed HIV positive, and was notable for later discussing his condition in public. His illness prompted him to move to Prospect Cottage, Dungeness, near to the nuclear power station. During the 1980s Jarman was still one of the few openly gay public figures in Britain and so was a leading campaigner against anti-gay legislation and to raise awareness of AIDS.

During the making of The Garden, Jarman became seriously ill. Although he recovered sufficiently to complete the film, he never attempted anything on a comparable scale afterwards. Jarman made a side income by directing music videos for various artists including Marianne Faithfull, The Smiths and the Pet Shop Boys. At the time when he made the film Blue, he was blind and dying of AIDS-related complications.

Jarman's work broke new ground in creating and expanding the fledgling form of 'the pop video' in England, and as a forthright and prominent gay rights activist.

 

1945 – Activist, anthropologist and author Toby Marotta born. Marotta is the author of The Politics of Homosexuality (1981) and Sons of Harvard: Gay Men From the Class of 1967 (1982). He has devoted the past two decades to HIV/AIDS-related anthropology and web-based health education. His Community-Roots Archives preserves documents and memorabilia collected during a 35 year career of community-based research.

He lives in Tucson with his life-mate, Rusty Kothavala, Harvard Class of '67, with whom he became acquainted 32 years ago in Lowell House. Marotta is the author of the 1982 book Sons of Harvard: Gay Men from the Class of 1967 (all but one of whom insisted on anonymity).

"The first person to open my eyes in a way that made me more accepting of my homosexuality was Rusty," Toby explains in that book. "He was so at ease with his homosexuality and so judicious in the ways he expressed it that I didn't even know what his sexual preferences were until after we had become fast friends. Rusty was the first person to show me that someone could be gay and yet also professionally successful, popular, idealistic, shrewd, and adventurous."


Toby Marotta and Rusty Kothavala

 

1948Paul Jabara (d.1992) was an American actor, singer, and songwriter of Lebanese ancestry.

Paul wrote Donna Summer's "Last Dance" from Thank God It's Friday (1978) and Barbra Streisand's song "The Main Event/Fight" from The Main Event (1979). He cowrote the Weather Girls hit, "It's Raining Men" with Paul Shaffer.

Jabara was in the original cast of the stage musicals Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. He took over the role of Frank-N-Furter in the Los Angeles Production of The Rocky Horror Show when Tim Curry left the production to film the movie version in England. He appeared in John Schlesinger's 1975 film, "The Day of the Locust", where he sang the production number "Hot Voo-Doo"

In 1979, Jabara won both Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song performed by Donna Summer, "Last Dance". Jabara's album Paul Jabara & Friends, released in 1983, features guest vocals by a then-20 year old Whitney Houston. It also includes the song "It's Raining Men". That song was later re-recorded several years later by drag supermodel RuPaul and Martha Wash. Wash sang on the original recording as part of the group the Weather Girls.

Jabara co-founded the Red Ribbon Project in 1991, and is credited with conceiving and distributing the first AIDS Red Ribbon.

Paul Jabara died of AIDS in Los Angeles at the age of 44 on September 29, 1992.

 

1950Fred S. Karger is an American political consultant, gay rights activist and watchdog, former actor, and former candidate for the Republican nomination for the 2012 US Presidential election.

Although he has not held elected or public office, Karger has worked on nine presidential campaigns and served as a senior consultant to the campaigns of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford. Karger was a partner at the Dolphin Group, a California campaign consulting firm.

He retired after 27 years and has since worked as an activist on gay rights causes, from protecting the gay bar The Boom to using his organization Californians Against Hate to investigate The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the National Organization for Marriage's campaigns to repeal the state's same-sex marriage law. Karger supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and making same-sex marriage the "law of the land".

In July 2008, Karger founded Californians Against Hate to serve as a political watchdog of the major donors and organizations working to take away gay marriage in California through Proposition 8. Through this, Karger and Californians Against Hate published the Dishonor Roll, a list of the over-$5000 donors to Proposition 8. Karger and Californians Against Hate have waged four boycotts of companies whose families gave large contributions to qualify and pass Proposition 8:

  • Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel: San Diego developer Doug Manchester donated $125,000 to Proposition 8. Manchester owns the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, Southern California's largest hotel. Karger initiated a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in July 2008, garnering the support of local gay organizations and UNITE HERE Local 30, the hotel workers. Hotel Marketing Director Kelly Commerford confirmed that cancellations resulting directly from the boycott had cost the hotel $7 million just in the first 8 months. Californians Against Hate estimates that the boycott continues to cost the hotel $1 million a month.
  • A-1 Self Storage: Terry Caster owns A-1 Self Storage; he and his family donated a total of $693,000 to Proposition 8. Caster also claims that gay marriage would create a "sick society." Californians Against Hate called a boycott of A-1 Self Storage effective November 20, 2008.
  • Bolthouse Farms: William Bolthouse gave $100,000 to Proposition 8, so Karger and Californians Against Hate began the boycott of the company he founded, Bolthouse Farms. Bolthouse Farms settled after it made large donations to gay organizations and promised to attain a 100% on HRC's Corporate Equality Index.
  • Garff Automotive: Katharine Garff, the matriarch of the Garff Automotive family, donated $100,000 to Proposition 8. In retaliation, Karger and Californians Against Hate initiated a boycott against Garff Automotive Group, which owns 53 dealerships in six states. The boycott settled two weeks later when the Garff family met with prominent gay philanthropist and WordPerfect co-founder Bruce Bastian and Karger and promised non-discrimination and donations to Utah-based gay and lesbian groups.

His running for the Republican nomination for president made him the first openly gay presidential candidate from a major political party in American history.

Karger has stated that he considered his bid less about winning the presidency, than about getting the LDS Church to end its political campaign against same-sex marriage. He has picketed LDS stores and bookstores. Previously, Karger also filed a formal complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) against the LDS Church, accusing the church of hiding the extent of its financial involvement supporting Proposition 8. Karger noticed discrepancies between the $2,078 worth of non-monetary contributions that the LDS Church had reported and all the activities that the church had undertaken to pass Proposition 8. Roman Porter, the executive director of the FPPC, announced a full investigation later that month. The investigation examined the church's involvement in providing phone banks, a website and commercials for Proposition 8, ultimately finding the church guilty of 13 violations, which the LDS Church settled by paying a fine.

 

1952Brad Gooch is an American writer.

Born and raised in Kingston, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Columbia University with a bachelors in 1973 and a doctorate in 1986.

Gooch is currently a Professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey. He has lived in New York City since 1971. His 2015 memoir Smash Cut recounts life in 1970s and 1980s New York City, including the time Gooch spent as a fashion model, life with his then-boyfriend filmmaker Howard Brookner, living in the famous Chelsea Hotel and the first decade of the AIDS crisis.

Gooch is married to writer and religious activist Paul Raushenbush; they have one child.

 

1962Patrick Gale is a British author, born on on the Isle of Wight, where his father was prison governor at Camp Hill, as his grandfather had been at nearby Parkhurst. The family moved to London, where his father ran Wandsworth Prison, then to Winchester. He finished his formal education with an English degree from New College, Oxford in 1983.

He has never had 'a grown-up job'. For three years he lived at a succession of addresses, from a Notting Hill bedsit to a crumbling French chateau. While working on his first novels he eked out his slender income with odd jobs: as a typist, a singing waiter, a designer's secretary, a ghost-writer for an encyclopedia of the musical and, increasingly, as a book reviewer for The Daily Telegraph.

His first two novels, The Aerodynamics of Pork and Ease were published on the same day in June 1986. The following year he moved to Camelford near the north coast of Cornwall and began a love affair with the county that has fed his work ever since.

He has written more than ten novels, a number of short stories and novellas in addition to a non-fiction book about the American novelist Armistead Maupin, with whom he has a close friendship.

He now lives in the far south-west, on a farm near Land's End with his lover, Aidan Hicks. They raise beef cattle for the open market and broccoli for Sainsbury's. His current ambition is to perfect the art of reversing a tractor and trailer around a corner.

 

1973Portia Lee James DeGeneres, known professionally as Portia de Rossi, is an Australian-American actress, model and philanthropist, known for her roles as lawyer Nelle Porter on the television series Ally McBeal and Lindsay Fünke on the sitcom Arrested Development. She also portrayed Veronica Palmer on the ABC sitcom Better Off Ted and Olivia Lord on Nip/Tuck. She is married to American stand-up comedian, television host and actress Ellen DeGeneres.

De Rossi, born Amanda Lee Rogers in Horsham, Victoria, Australia grew up in Grovedale, a suburb of Geelong, Victoria, and modelled for print and TV commercials as a child. In 1988, at the age of 15, Rogers adopted the name Portia de Rossi, by which she remains best known; in 2005, she explained that she had intended to reinvent herself, using the given name of Portia, a character from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, and an Italian last name.

De Rossi was married to documentary film-maker Mel Metcalfe from 1996 to 1999, initially part of a plan to get a green card, but she did not go through with it. She said that "it just obviously wasn't right for me". In a 2010 interview on Good Morning America, she explained that as a young actress, she was fearful of being exposed as a lesbian.

From 2000 to 2004, de Rossi dated singer Francesca Gregorini, the daughter of Barbara Bach and the stepdaughter of Ringo Starr. She said that most of her family and Ally McBeal castmates did not know she was a lesbian until tabloid pictures of the couple were published. She declined to publicly discuss the relationship or her sexual orientation at the time.

De Rossi and Gregorini broke up in late 2004 because de Rossi began dating Ellen DeGeneres, whom she met backstage at an awards show. In 2005, she opened up publicly about her sexual orientation in interviews with Details and The Advocate. She became engaged when DeGeneres proposed with a three-carat pink diamond ring. They were married at their Beverly Hills home on 16 August 2008, witnessed by their mothers and 17 other guests. On 6 August 2010, Portia filed a petition to legally change her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres. The petition was granted on 23 September 2010. She became a US citizen in September 2011.

In 2010, de Rossi published the autobiography Unbearable Lightness which talks about the turmoil that she has experienced in her life, including suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia and being misdiagnosed with lupus.

 Added 2021

 

1979Daniel Tammet is an English essayist, novelist, poet, translator, and autistic savant. His memoir, Born on a Blue Day (2006), is about his early life with Asperger syndrome and savant syndrome, and was named a "Best Book for Young Adults" in 2008 by the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services magazine. His second book, Embracing the Wide Sky, was one of France's best-selling books of 2009. His third book, Thinking in Numbers, was published in 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton in the United Kingdom and in 2013 by Little, Brown and Company in the United States and Canada.

In 2016 he published his debut novel, Mishenka, in France and Quebec. His books have been published in over 20 languages. He was elected in 2012 to serve as a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Tammet was born Daniel Paul Corney, the eldest of nine children, and raised in Barking and Dagenham, East London, England. As a young child, he suffered epileptic seizures, which remitted following medical treatment.

He participated twice in the World Memory Championships in London under his birth name, placing 11th in 1999 and 4th in 2000.

He changed his birth name by deed poll because "it didn't fit with the way he saw himself." He took the Estonian surname Tammet, which is related to "oak tree".

At age twenty-five, he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome by Simon Baron-Cohen of the University of Cambridge Autism Research Centre. He is one of fewer than a hundred "prodigious savants" according to Darold Treffert, the world's leading researcher in the study of savant syndrome.

Tammet holds the European record for memorizing and recounting pi to 22,514 digits in just over five hours. This sponsored charity challenge was held in aid of the National Society for Epilepsy (NSE) on “Pi Day”, March 14, 2004, at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, UK.

He was the subject of a documentary film titled Extraordinary People: The Boy with the Incredible Brain, first broadcast on the British television station Channel 4 on 23 May 2005.

He met software engineer Neil Mitchell in 2000. They lived together as domestic partners in Kent, England, where they had a quiet life at home with their cats, preparing meals from their garden. He and Mitchell operated the online e-learning company Optimnem, where they created and published language courses.

Tammet now lives in Paris, France, with his husband Jérôme Tabet, a photographer whom he met while promoting his autobiography. Tammet is openly gay.

 

1980James Adomian is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and impressionist. He is best known for his work on Comedy Bang! Bang!, Chapo Trap House, Last Comic Standing, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson where he impersonated President George W. Bush until 2009, and for portraying Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Trump vs. Bernie tour. He voices Talking Ben in the Talking Tom and Friends animated series.

Adomian was born in Omaha, Nebraska on January 31, 1980 and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. His family moved to Los Angeles, when he was ten years old. Adomian is an alumnus of Los Angeles Baptist High School and attended Whittier College studying in a self-designed major in Economics and Theatre Arts. He notes that he did not graduate during a 2017 interview with Pete Holmes. Adomian is of Armenian descent.

Adomian began appearing as President George W. Bush frequently on The Late Late Show after Craig Ferguson took over hosting the show in January 2005 until 2009.

He has appeared on several other comedy programs, including MADtv, Mind of Mencia, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Short Circuitz, Atom TV, Cavemen, Recount and Players.

Adomian has appeared in the films Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and Miss March.

Adomian is openly gay. He is the grandson of Armenian-American mathematician George Adomian.

1989 – In San Francisco, AIDS activists stage a protest on the Golden Gate Bridge, bringing morning rush-hour traffic to a standstill. Twenty-nine demonstrators are arrested.

2017Thousands of gay and bisexual men who were convicted of now-abolished sexual offenses laws in Britain have been posthumously pardoned under a new policing law, the Justice Ministry announces. The law, which received Royal Assent on this day, is named after British WWII codebreaker Alan Turing, who committed suicide following his conviction for gross indecency and was posthumously pardoned by Her Majesty the Queen in 2013. It also makes it possible for living convicted gay men to seek pardons for offenses no longer on the statute book.

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