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

July 7

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1879 – Air Commodore Lionel Charlton CB, CMG, DSO, RAF (d.1958) was a British infantry officer who served in the Second Boer War. During World War I, Charlton held several command and staff posts in the Royal Flying Corps, finishing the war as a brigadier-general. Transferring to the Royal Air Force on its creation, Charlton served in several air officer posts until his retirement from the air force in 1928. Most notably, Charlton resigned his position as the RAF's Chief Staff Officer in Iraq as he objected to the bombing of Iraqi villages.

On 2 February 1923, Air Commodore Charlton took up the post of Chief Staff Officer at the headquarters of the RAF's Iraq Command. It was at this time that the RAF employed the bombing of Iraqi villages with the intent of pacifying tribal opposition. Charlton opposed this policy and he went on to openly criticize such bombing action. Within a year of his arrival, Charlton resigned from his post in Iraq. His opposition to the bombing policy is said to have started with a visit to the local hospital in Diwaniya, where he witnessed horribly mangled civilians, including women and children, who were among the victims of a British air raid.

In retirement, he became a successful author of adventure fiction for boys, such as "The Camp at Auld-Man-Shiel". These were adventure novels for adolescents, featuring athletic boys who loved aviation. At this time he also wrote "Charlton an autobiography", published by Penguin Books no 163 (1938); this work was rather candid, and was written in the third person singular.

Charlton's longtime lover was an ex-RAF airman named Tom Wichelo. The couple remained together for 23 years, until Charlton's death in 1958. When Charlton and Wichelo "pitched camp" in Dover in the late 1930s, much of literary London followed them. The main attraction seems to have been the easy availability of soldiers and sailors on leave in the coastal town.

W.H. Auden pictured the scene in his poem "Dover":

Soldiers crowd into the pubs in their pretty clothes,
As pink and silly as girls from a high-class academy.

Prominent homosexual personalities like Raymond Mortimer, Duncan Grant, and actors like John Gielgud revolved around Charlton. They met in London at Gennaro's, in New Compton Street, which was famous for the astonishingly handsome waiters selected by the owner during repeated visits to Italy.

 

1899 – Born: George Cukor (d.1983), the preeminent "woman's director" and gay auteur of Hollywood's classical era, was born in New York. Cukor evinced an early interest in the theater, becoming a stage manager for a stock company and, then, on Broadway while still in his teens (1919-1924). From there he graduated to being a stage director of some renown, working with top female stars of the period, including Jeanne Eagels and Ethel Barrymore, from 1925 to 1929.

In 1929, Cukor was part of the wave of Broadway talent that migrated to Hollywood, where he worked as a dialogue coach on other people's films before co-directing one of his own, Grumpy, in 1930. Following two more codirecting efforts (with Cukor working with the actors and dialogue and more experienced directors handling the action), he made his first film, Tarnished Lady (1931), with Tallulah Bankhead. By 1933, with Dinner at Eight and Little Women, he was firmly established as a major talent. Throughout his long career, he worked on prestige, often stage-derived productions with the most important stars of the day. Cukor was responsible for many of the most popular and critically praised films of Hollywood's golden age, including Camille (1935), The Women (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Born Yesterday (1950), A Star Is Born (1954), and My Fair Lady (1964).


Cukor with Clark Gable

So skilled was he with actors, but particularly female stars, that he became typed as a "woman's director," a provocative phrase that also spoke obliquely of Cukor's homosexuality. Many female stars adored Cukor, whom they eagerly sought to work with and counted as a friend. However, the director's reputation as a "woman's director" (and homosexual) may have gotten him kicked off the set of Gone with the Wind (1939), when star Clark Gable allegedly said, "I won't be directed by a fairy." (Another version of this story has Gable's refusal to work with Cukor motivated by his belief that the director knew of the actor's own earlier same-sex escapades.) Typical of the loyalty Cukor could generate, however, Vivien Leigh continued to be coached by him despite the objections of Gable and Victor Fleming, who replaced him as director.

Cukor always denied the "charge" of being a "woman's director." He correctly pointed out that in spite of his legendary collaborations with such talents as Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Garland, and Judy Holliday, more men than women had won Oscars for their work in his films.

It was an open secret in Hollywood that Cukor was homosexual, although he was discreet about his sexual orientation, but at least once, in the midst of his reign at MGM, he was arrested on vice charges, but studio executives managed to get the charges dropped and all records of it expunged, and the incident never was publicized by the press. In the late 1950s, Cukor became involved with a considerably younger man named George Towers. He financed his education at the Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences and the University of Southern California, from which Towers graduated with a law degree in 1967. That fall Towers married and his relationship with Cukor evolved into one of father and son, but for the remainder of Cukor's life the two remained very close.

Cukor's private life was well known within the limits of Hollywood. His Sunday afternoon pool parties are legendary in queer circles, having been described at lurid length in recent Cukor biographies and published remarks by some of the attendees, such as novelist John Rechy. He was a celebrated bon vivant whose luxurious home was the site of these weekly Sunday afternoon parties attended by closeted celebrities and the attractive young men they met in bars and gyms and brought with them. These events were studies in egalitarianism, with Cukor and his sophisticated friends socializing with their boyfriends, who were often hustlers, rough trade, would-be actors, or ambitious artists and writers who saw these parties as entries into the high life. Cukor's personal reputation has suffered somewhat from these accounts, with Rechy (quoted in David Ehrenstein's Open Secret), for example, portraying the "gentleman director" as a catty, sometimes cruel queen who was as gifted at separating his private and public personas as he was at making films.

By the mid-1930s, Cukor was not only established as a prominent director but, socially, as the unofficial head of Hollywood's gay subculture. His home, redecorated in 1935 by actor-turned interior designer William Haines with gardens designed by Florence Yoch & Lucile Council, was the scene of many gatherings for the industry's homosexuals. The close-knit group included Haines and his partner Jimmie Shields, Alan Ladd, writer Somerset Maugham, director James Vincent, screenwriter Rowland Leigh, costume designers Orry-Kelly and Robert Le Maire, and actors John Darrow, Anderson Lawler, Grady Sutton, Robert Seiter and Tom Douglas. Frank Horn, secretary to Cary Grant, was also a frequent guest.

Not surprising for a semi-closeted gay artist in Hollywood, one of Cukor's constant themes was how to reconcile a schizoid existence, particularly that of an outsider or artist figure constantly at war with his or her own demons and the limits imposed by relationships and humdrum reality.

Cukor died on January 24, 1983, two years after his last film, Rich and Famous. This film, which revisits Cukor's theme of the artistic temperament at odds with society and itself, was an update of the Bette Davis-Miriam Hopkins vehicle Old Acquaintance (1943). As such, it is a suitable coda for the career of one of America's great gay artists in or out of cinema.

 

1909 – One of the greatest tennis players in history, Baron Gottfried Von Cramm, was born today (d.1976). Never heard of the German tennis champion? Well his life is so unbelievable that it would make a great movie. Aside for his being known for his gentlemanly conduct and fair play, he was one of the most winning players. In 1932 he won the Davis Cup for Germany on his first attempt; the following year he won the mixed doubles title at Wimbeldon with Hilde Krahwinkel. Two years later he earned his first individual Grand Slam title, winning the French Open.

Gottfried von Cramm is most remembered for his match against Don Budge during the 1937 Davis Cup. Considered one of the greatest matches in tennis history, von Cramm and Budge played in Wimbeldon's center court to a crowd of 14,000 people mesmerized by these two champion players. Alistair Cooke, who covered the match as a radio journalist, wrote that the two players "set the rhythms of something that looked more like ballet than a game where you hit a ball. ... People stopped asking other people to sit down. The umpire gave up stopping the game to beg for silence during rallies." They played on into twilight. He was ahead 4-1 in the final set, when Budge launched a comeback, eventually winning 8-6. The match ended with a passing shot whose landing was never seen by Budge, who fell to the ground as soon as the ball was hit. When it was over, the British crowd, in Cooke's words "forgot its nature. ... It stood on benches" and emitted a "deep kind of roar." Later the captain of the U.S. team was quoted as saying, "No man, living or dead, could have beaten either man that day." [For more on the match and on von Cramm and his coach, American tennis legend, Bill Tilden, check out the recent book "A Terrible Splendor: Three Extraordinary Men . . . and the Greatest Tennis Match Ever" by Marshall Jon Fisher]

In an interview after the match, Budge told a reporter that von Cramm had received a phone call from Hitler minutes before the match started and came out pale and serious and had played each point as though his life depended on winning. Budge was more right than he knew. von Cramm in fact once confessed to Bill Tilden (himself closeted), that he was "playing for my life." Less than a year after the match, the Nazis would move against him.

But why? His winning ways made him a hero in his native Germany. Certainly the handsome, blond athlete fit the "Aryan-race" image of the Nazis. But von Cramm refused to join the party. He detested them. It figures, as von Cramm was madly in love with the Galician Jewish actor and singer Manasse Herbst. In 1938 he was found guilty of having a "homosexual relationship" with Herbst. Von Cramm admitted that the relationship, which lasted from 1931 until 1934, began shortly before he married his first wife. He was additionally charged with sending money to Herbst, who moved to Palestine in 1936. He was found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison. His international tennis friends were outraged, and Don Budge collected the signatures of high-profile athletes and sent a protest letter to Hitler. Von Cramm was released after 6 month of imprisonment because of his "good behaviour." Later von Cramm was sent to the Russian front, at the time, practically a death sentence. He survived.

After the war he returned to tennis, settled down with a Woolworth heiress (later divorcing) and went into the cotton exporting business. He died in Egypt in 1976 when the car he was riding in collided with a truck. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island in 1977.

 

1911 – One of the leading classical composers of the twentieth century, Gian Carlo Menotti (d.2007) not only had a distinguished career, but also achieved acclaim at a time when his uncloseted homosexuality could have been a major barrier.

Amazingly prolific and indefatigable, even in his nineties he continued to be a vital presence in the world of classical music. Menotti was born in Cadegliano, Italy on July 7, 1911. Although his family was not especially musical, they recognized their son's prodigious talent. Under the guidance of his mother, Menotti began to compose as a child. He wrote his first opera at the age of 11. He began his formal study of music at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan in 1923, but after the death of his father, he and his mother traveled to the United States, where he entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Menotti quickly adjusted to American culture and soon mastered the English language. Although he retained his Italian citizenship and eventually acquired residences in Italy and Scotland, he spent most of his professional career in the United States and wrote most of the libretti to his operas in English.

Among his fellow students at Curtis were composers Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber. Barber (1910-1981), with whom he was to share a relationship that endured more than thirty years, soon became his life-partner, though Menotti later also had a long personal and professional relationship with the conductor Thomas Schippers. Menotti wrote the libretto for Barber's most famous opera, Vanessa (1964).


Gian Carlo Menotti (L) with Samuel Barber

Menotti wrote a series of operas that were staged very successfully on Broadway. The Medium (1945), The Telephone (1946), The Consul (1949), and The Saint of Bleecker Street (1954) established his reputation as the most popular opera composer in America. He received New York Drama Critics Circle awards and Pulitzer Prizes for The Consul and The Saint of Bleecker Street.

Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors was originally written for television and broadcast in 1951. It has since become a Christmas classic, performed all over the world during the Christmas season.

One of Menotti's greatest triumphs was The Festival of Two Worlds, which he established in Spoleto, Italy in 1958. The festival, which is devoted to celebrating and encouraging the cultural collaboration of Europe and America, became one of the most successful ventures of its kind. In 1977, the Festival literally became "of two worlds" when Menotti founded Spoleto USA in Charleston, South Carolina. He led the Charleston festival until 1993, when he withdrew to become Director of the Rome Opera.

Before gay liberation and before gay people could be completely candid about their liaisons, Menotti and Barber proved that gay men could have relationships that did not have to be closeted, though the term "homosexuality" was never mentioned in public. During the period of McCarthyism and its homophobic persecution of queers in America, Menotti made a significant contribution to the cause of human liberation through his vivid example as an accomplished artist who was also an uncloseted homosexual.

In the 1970s, Menotti began to live in Scotland. He continued to reside there with an adopted son and his family until his death on February 1, 2007.

 Added 2021

 

1962Justin Crockett Elzie was a U.S. Marine born on this date, who served around the globe. In 1993, he came out on the ABC Evening News shortly before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was enacted. In so doing, he became the first Marine discharged under that law.

As the first Marine to be discharged under the President Clinton-era military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Elzie became something of an accidental activist: an openly gay, model soldier who wanted to stay in the Marines and was willing to fight for his cause. He locked himself to the White House fence in protest and he continued to fight for the right for gays to serve openly.Elzie challenged his discharge with a Federal lawsuit, and was re-instated. He wound up serving four more years as an openly gay Marine before retiring in 1997.

His book, "Playing by the Rules," tells his story. He also appears in an indie film Bear City 2: The Proposal.

Elzie currently lives in Seattle, Washington and is an astrologer.

 Added 2022

 

1969Andy Quan is a Chinese-Canadian author who now lives in Sydney, Australia. In his writing, he frequently explores the ways in which sexual identity and cultural identity interact. Quan is openly gay.

Quan was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In addition to his writing, Quan is a musician, a reiki practitioner, and a community activist. He was the first ever full-time paid employee of ILGA (Intenational Lesbian and Ggay Association) and has worked as a policy writer and project manager on issues related to the global HIV epidemic. He now works as an editor and copywriter.

 

1969Paulo Szot is a Brazilian operatic baritone singer and actor. He made his opera debut in 1997 and his international career has included performances with the Metropolitan Opera. In 2008, he made his Broadway debut as Emile De Becque in a revival of South Pacific, and for his performance in this musical he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Theatre World Award. In 2012 he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for best actor in a musical, and in 2014 was nominated for the MAC Award for best Celebrity Artist becoming the first Brazilian to receive such honors.

Szot was born in São Paulo of Polish parents who emigrated to Brazil after World War II. He began his musical training in piano at the age of five and later added violin and classical ballet. However, at age 21, a knee injury cut short any aspirations for a career in dance, causing him, with encouragement from his instructor, to pursue singing instead

Szot is openly gay, but came out in a quiet fashion. His sexual orientation was simply added to his Internet biography after an inquiry was made of his management. Szot has been in a long-term relationship, but does not mention his partner’s name. He simply states that his lover is "in the business," and that he is not from the United States. Szot shares a house he built on the edge of the Brazilian rainforest with his partner and 4 Weimaraners.

 

1970 James Getzlaff, born in Devils Lake, North Dakota, is an American reality television participant and actor. He is best known as the "leading man" from the 2003 Bravo gay dating series Boy Meets Boy.

Before he appeared on Boy Meets Boy, Getzlaff was a benefits administrator for a Los Angeles, California law firm. On the show, Getzlaff, with his best friend Andra Stasko, tried to select from amongst 15 "mates" to find love for James. Unbeknownst to them, several of the "mates" were actually straight. Midway through the series, James and Andra learned of this twist and also learned that if James were to select a gay "mate" the two would win a cash prize and a trip to New Zealand, while if he chose a straight "mate" James would win nothing and the "mate" would win the cash prize. Getzlaff selected gay "mate" Wes Culwell and won the trip and the cash.

Getzlaff and Culwell, prevented from being seen alone together in public before the taped show aired, had difficulty maintaining the relationship and split shortly thereafter. They did not travel together to New Zealand.

In 2004, Getzlaff appeared in the off-Broadway play My Big Gay Italian Wedding. He also had a starring role in the 2006 gay comedy Another Gay Movie

In 2005, Getzlaff appeared in Real Gay, a "reunion show" on Logo, hosted by Kim Coles and featuring dozens of LGBT reality show "alumni" from many reality programs

 Added 2021

 

1973John Lapus (aka Sweet) is a Filipino actor, host, film and television director, talent manager, and comedian. Lapus known for his several various roles such as in Shake, Rattle & Roll. Lapus is openly gay.

John Lapus is son of showbiz columnist, the late Jojo Lapus (1943–2006). Lapus started his career in 1993 and worked as a researcher of ABS-CBN's Showbiz Lingo. He is also an alumnus of University of Santo Tomas, where he was an active member of Teatro Tomasino. He appeared in numerous ABS-CBN shows and often moonlighted as Creative Consultant for the network's film arm, Star Cinema. His nickname "Sweet" was named after his character in a sitcom Arriba, Arriba!.

1974The Quebec Charter of Human Rights is adopted by the National Assembly without legal protection for gays.

 

 

1986Cameron Marshall is the stage name of an American adult film actor.

He went to college in Lubbock, Texas, majored in advertising and graphic design.

Marshall gave his first adult film performance in the movie Little Big League 3: Bottom of the Ninth, after which he signed a contract as an exclusive for the gay pornographic studio Channel 1 Releasing. Since then, all his performances have been in movies for them.

In the 2008 bisexual film Shifting Gears, Marshall had sex with a woman. When the official press release was made public, the film sparked controversy because the term "Straight-for-pay" (a play on the expression "Gay-for-pay") was coined to reference both Marshall and Blake Riley in heterosexual scenarios.


Click for Full Monty

Marshall was raised Baptist, but no longer follows the religion. In an interview with Pride Source, after being asked if he has had sex with a woman prior to appearing in the "straight-for-pay" film "Shifting Gears", Marshall stated that he had because he dated women until he was 20 years old. Despite having had girlfriends in the past, he now only dates men. Although Marshall had his first sexual experience with a woman and says that dating women was "fun", he now considers himself to be gay.

Marshall is included in Channel 1 Releasing’s Rascal Toy Line among the actors in its porn star dildo collection.

JULY 8 →

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