Table of Contents
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
1903 – Rupert Croft-Cooke (d.1979) was an English biographer and author of fiction and non-fiction, including screenplays and biographies under his own name and detective stories under the pseudonym of Leo Bruce. For legal reasons, he spent fifteen years in Morocco.
Croft-Cooke was educated at Tonbridge School and Wellington College. At the age of seventeen, he was working as a private tutor in Paris. He spent two years in Buenos Aires, where he founded the journal La Estrella. In 1925 he returned to London and began a career as a freelance journalist and writer. His work appeared in a variety of magazines, including New Writing, Adelphi, and the English Review. In the late 1920s the American magazine Poetry published several of his plays. He was also a radio broadcaster on psychology. In 1930 he spent a year in Germany. In 1940 he joined the British Army and served in Africa and India until 1946. He later wrote several books about his military experiences. From 1947 to 1953 he was a book reviewer for The Sketch.
Croft-Cooke was a homosexual, which brought him into conflict with the laws of his time. In 1953, at a time when the Home Office was seeking to clamp down on homosexuality, he was sent to prison for six months on conviction for acts of indecency, although the facts were meagre. Croft-Cooke's secretary and companion, Joseph Alexander, had met two Navy cooks, Harold Altoft and Ronald Charles Dennis, in the Fitzroy Tavern near Tottenham Court Road in London, and invited them to spend the weekend at Croft-Cooke's house in Ticehurst, East Sussex. During the weekend, they consumed food and alcohol and had sex with both Croft-Cooke and his assistant. On their way home from the weekend, they got drunk and assaulted two men, one of whom was a policeman. They were arrested and agreed to testify against Croft-Cooke to get immunity from prosecution for the assault charges.
The case of Croft-Cooke was discussed by the Committee which produced the Wolfenden report into changing the law on prostitution and homosexuality, specifically by Philip Allen, a civil servant testifying on behalf of the Home Office. Allen described Croft-Cooke and Alexander as attempting to "interfere" with the sailors, who "resisted" the advances. Michael Graham-Harrison, a junior Home Office civil servant, attempted to correct Allen's rhetorical overreaching, noting that the sailors were "picked up in a place frequented by homosexuals" and arguing that he did "not think anybody could believe for a moment that they did not know what they were going for".
Croft-Cooke went to Wormwood Scrubs and Brixton Prison and later wrote about the British penal system in The Verdict of You All (1955). The 1957 war film Seven Thunders was based on his novel. He also wrote for television, including an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He is best known today for the detective stories he wrote under the name of Leo Bruce. His detectives were called Carolus Deene and Sergeant Beef.
From 1953 to 1968 he lived in Morocco before moving on to live in a number of other countries, Tunisia, Cyprus, West Germany and Ireland. Croft-Cooke died in 1979 in Bournemouth.
1909 – Born: Errol Flynn, who at the height of his career was the heart throb of movie fans throughout the world (d.1959). Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, Flynn seemed to personify Robin Hood and the other heroic figures that he portrayed on screen. A highly publicized trial for statutory rape in 1942 tarnished his public image and revealed darker qualities than had been expressed in his previous films.
Flynn exuded sexual energy. He tellingly declared in a famous interview of 1950 that he wanted his gravestone to be inscribed: "If It Moved, Flynn Fucked It." This assertion might be regarded as corroboration of persistent rumors that he was eager to have sex with both men and women.
In the aptly titled but unreliable My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1959), Flynn included abundant details about his countless sexual conquests of women. While he emphasized that he enjoyed partying with his male buddies, he never indicated that their interactions had sexual overtones.
Biographers of Flynn, as well as other observers of Hollywood, have claimed that Flynn had sexual (if not romantic) flings with Tyrone Power and numerous other actors during his Hollywood years. The best cases for Flynn's alleged bisexuality were made by biographers Charles Higham and David Bret. Bret substantiated Higham's account of the actor's supposed bisexuality by providing fuller information about his sexual escapades with other men. Moreover, Flynn's first wife, Lili Damita, insisted as late as 1994 that Flynn enjoyed sexual encounters with men, and her assertions have been corroborated by some of Flynn's associates in Hollywood, including Marlene Dietrich. However, other close friends and family members have emphatically denied that Flynn was bisexual or gay.
Notwithstanding such protests, it may be telling that in recounting a visit to a brothel in Marrakech, Flynn claimed that he was initially horrified to discover that the establishment was actually a male brothel; but, he says, he quickly came to the realization that everyone had a right to whatever pleasures suit them, and he encouraged his readers to remember the splendors of ancient Greece, which had accepted homosexuality. The anecdote, of course, indicates nothing definite about Flynn's own sexual interests, but the plea for tolerance, coupled with the familiar citation of the glories of Greece, is significant because it challenges the climate of sexual repression that was pervasive in the 1950s.
There is no doubt that Flynn was a compulsive womanizer. The likelihood is that he also had occasional sexual relations with men. While no concrete evidence has been discovered that unequivocally documents Flynn's affairs with men, that is hardly surprising. At a time when homosexual acts were illegal in the United States and Great Britain, and the mere suspicion of homosexuality could destroy careers, such documentation would almost certainly not be preserved. Given the time in which he lived, Flynn probably did not self-identify as a bisexual. However, his exuberant sexual appetites, and his willingness to transgress all kinds of sexual boundaries, increase the likelihood that the widespread rumors of his sexual affairs with men had a basis in fact.
Flynn was born on June 20, 1909 in Hobart, Tasmania in Australia. His father, Theodore Thomson Flynn, a lecturer at the University of Tasmania, already had gained international recognition for his research in marine biology. His mother, Lily Mary Flynn, was a descendent of Fletcher Christian (leader of the Bounty Mutiny), whom Errol would portray in his first movie role.
In 1932, impressed by Flynn's dashing appearance, motion picture director Charles Chauvel offered him the role of Fletcher Christian in the first Australian sound feature film, In the Wake of the Bounty (1933), about the history of Pitcairn Island. Intrigued by this experience, Flynn resolved to develop a career as a professional actor.
Flynn got his big break in May 1935 when he was offered the lead role in Captain Blood. Opening in December 1935, Captain Blood established Flynn as a major star. Drawing upon his own experiences as an adventurer, he was able to breathe life into the screen image of the swashbuckler. Doing virtually all of his own stunts, he displayed his strength, skill, and grace in fencing and other athletic activities.
According to Bret and some other biographers, Flynn had an affair with supporting actor Ross Alexander (1908-1937) during the filming of Captain Blood. Speculation about their possible relationship seems to be supported by the tenderness and intensity of their onscreen performances. Adding to the script, Flynn constantly refers to Alexander as "dear" and "darling." Intentionally or not, some of the scenes by Flynn and Alexander have a homoerotic aura: for example, Flynn's massage of Alexander's leg, interrupted by the question "What's going on between you two?" as Lionel Atwill enters the set.
A number of Flynn's other screen performances also have homoerotic dimensions, including, for instance, his flirtatious conversations with a decidedly uncomfortable Fred MacMurray in Dive Bomber (1941). However, it should be kept in mind that, while these possible "queer readings" suggest the complexity and richness of his acting, they do not provide firm evidence about Flynn's own sexual orientation or experiences.
In The Adventures of Don Juan, he devised a thoroughly camp interpretation of the insatiable lover that resonated particularly with gay viewers at a time of great repression, and in other films he added a homoerotic dimension that may have gone over the heads of most of his audience, but which thrilled gay fans. Moreover, in real life, Flynn was a sexual adventurer. He probably had sexual relations with men as well as women. Most importantly, he exemplifies the fluidity of sexual desire and the somewhat indiscriminate nature of sexual compulsion. The persistent rumors of his dalliances with men, coupled with his own self-description ("If It Moved, Flynn Fucked It"), suggest that his compulsive womanizing may have been related to sexual needs that transcend current categories of sexual orientation.
Flynn died of a heart attack on October 14, 1959 in Vancouver, Canada, where he had gone to sell his boat in an effort to repay some of his debts.
1917 - Donald Vining (d.1998) was an American writer, publisher and diarist whose published diaries comprise a unique slice of gay American life in the 20th century.
Donald Vining was born in Benton, Pennsylvania. He attended West Chester University in Pennsylvania prior to attending the Yale School of Drama, where he was a playwrighting major. A number of his plays have been produced for the stage and for the WICC Radio Listeners' Theatre, broadcast on the Yankee Network. His plays were subsequently published in such volumes as Yale Radio Plays and Plays For Players.
In the 1950s he served as Drama Editor of What's Cookin' magazine and wrote numerous freelance articles and stories for other varied publications and periodicals. After a 30 year career at Teacher's College, Columbia University, he took early retirement to start his own publishing company, The Pepys Press. This publishing firm produced five volumes of his acclaimed A Gay Diary as well as a book of diaries from the Second World War, American Diaries of World War II, and other works.
Vining published essays on gay relationships his own with his partner Richmond Purinton lasted more than 43 years which appeared in varied American periodicals. He also wrote numerous scripts, plays, poems and stories throughout his lifetime. His first story published in book form was in Cross-Section 1945 with his Show Me The Way To Go Home. Vining's short story The Old Dog was later published in Story Magazine, soon after immortalised in the book Story: The Fiction of The Forties, and today continues to be used in schools across the USA.
He was selected for inclusion in the Who's Who in the East 25th Edition, published in 1994. He died in New York City on January 24, 1998 at the age of 80.
1923 – Gregory Baum (d.2017), was a Roman Catholic Canadian theologian. He became known in North America and Europe in the 1960s for his work on ecumenism, interfaith dialogue, and the relationship between the Catholic Church and Jews. In the later 1960s, he went to the New School for Social Theory in New York and became a sociologist, which led to his work on creating a dialogue between classical sociology (Marx, Tocqueville, Durkheim, Toennies, Weber, etc.) and Christian theology.
In the 1970s, he welcomed the insights of the Theology of Liberation that came from Latin America and other societies. He also became interested in the work of Karl Mannheim and developed an program of ideology critique that he hoped would eliminate the ideological elements in religion, especially those elements that preached contempt for others and allowed Christians to remain unmoved by the suffering of the victims of social injustice and structural violence.In the 1980s and 1990s, Baum continued his study into ideology critique by integrating the work of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. He connected the Frankfurt School's concept of "the end of innocent critique" with the Catholic Church's "preferential option for the poor." Both concepts extended his interest in ideology critique. Since Baum has always been interested in social ethics, he also studied the work of Karl Polanyi, with whom he sympathized greatly. It was also in the late 1980s that Baum moved to Quebec and developed an interest in Quebec Catholicism, which he saw as more progressive and contextual than its English Canadian and American counterparts.
Born of a Jewish mother and a Protestant father, in Berlin, Germany, he came to Canada from England as a war refugee. He arrived by boat in Quebec in 1940 with other Germans, most of them Jewish, and they were interned in refugee camps, under military control. After some transfers between Quebec, Trois-Rivières, New-Brunswick and Farnham, he was finally interned to Sherbrooke. Being only 17 years old at this time, he considers this period of his life as an incredible adventure. Among the refugees, some intellectuals hastened to set up inside the camps educational systems of which he took advantage. Although Canada had no law for the refugees at this time, a lady who met them in these camps pressured the government so that some could complete their studies outside of camps with financial aid (scholarships) that she had collected.
In his autobiography, published in 2017, Baum revealed his homosexuality. In Chapter 32, he talks about his first gay experience: "I was forty years old when I had my first sexual encounter with a man." He further states, that "I did not profess my own homosexuality in public because such an act of honesty would have reduced my influence as a critical theologian." He also called himself "the first Catholic theologian who publicly defended the ethical status of homosexual love".
A strong supporter of gays and lesbians in the Church, Baum had been aware since adolescence of his own attraction to men. After moving to Montreal in 1986, he fell in love with a former priest of whom he says, "his unwavering love, which has given stability to my life as a theologian, has been a gift from God." Baum died in hospital in Montreal on October 18, 2017, surrounded by his friends. His funeral was held at his Montreal parish church, Saint Pierre-Apôtre.
1923 – Fred G. Thompson was arrested and tried for the murder of Richard Tesmer. Thompson had posed as Mrs. Frances Carrick for the previous 14 years. Thompson/Carrick was found not guilty. The judge ruled that Frank Carrick, husband of Fred/Frances, did not have to testify due to spousal immunity. The jury acquitted her after two hours.
Fred G. Thompson was born in Columbus, Ohio. At age thirteen, his father kicked him out, and he went to Chicago, started living as female and took a job as a chambermaid. Later Frances used her high soprano voice and became a singer in a cabaret. In 1912 Frances married Frank Carrick, a chauffeur, in Crown Point, Indiana. The two of them were arrested on suspicion that there was something amiss in their relationship but they were able to produce a valid marriage license and so were let go.
1939 – Jack Fritscher is an American author, novelist, magazine journalist, gay historian, photographer, videographer, university professor, and social activist known internationally for his fiction and non-fiction analyses of gay popular culture. As a pre-Stonewall gay activist, he was an out and founding member of the American Popular Culture Association. Fritscher is the founding San Francisco editor in chief of Drummer Magazine.
Born during the Great Depression and growing up during World War II in rental housing, Fritscher was part of the gay generation who in their teens, during the 1950s, rebelled against conformity through the birth of pop culture and the Beatniks. In their twenties, during the 1960s, these gay youth marched for peace and civil rights, and in their thirties, during the 1970s, they worked to secure the cultural and aesthetic foundations of modern gay liberation in its first decade after the Stonewall riots.
Raised and schooled in a strong Catholic background, much of his writing reflects this. His first novel was What They Did to the Kid: Confessions of an Altar Boy (1965), and his first gay novel was I Am Curious (Leather) aka Leather Blues (1969). He authored the first nonfiction book on gays and magic in Popular Witchcraft Straight from the Witch's Mouth (1972). His short-story collection Corporal in Charge of Taking Care of Captain O'Malley (1984) was the first collection of leather fiction, and the first collection of fiction from Drummer magazine. The title entry Corporal in Charge was the only play published by editor Winston Leyland in the Lambda Literary Award Winner Gay Roots: Twenty Years of Gay Sunshine - An Anthology of Gay History, Sex, Politics & Culture (1991).
On May 22, 1979, the night after the White Night riots, Fritscher met his spouse Mark Hemry under the marquee of the Castro Theatre during a post-riot Castro Street peace demonstration that also celebrated the birthday of Harvey Milk. Following a civil union in Vermont (July 12, 2000) and a Canadian marriage (August 19, 2003), they were married in California (June 20, 2008). Fritscher's previous significant partners were David Sparrow and Robert Mapplethorpe.
1940 – John Mahoney, English actor, born (d.2018); An award-winning English/American actor known for playing the retired police officer father, Martin "Marty" Crane, of Kelsey Grammer's character, Dr. Frasier Crane, in the popular American TV series Frasier (NBC, 1993-2004).
He also played the Gay bar owner in the 2000 The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy. Mahoney co-starred as The Old Man in the Broadway revival of the play Prelude to a Kiss. He appeared in season 13 of ER as an elderly drag queen in the episode, "Somebody to Love", and in the 2007 romantic comedy film Dan in Real Life, co-starring as the father of Steve Carell and Dane Cook. In 2010, he made a guest appearance on $#@! My Dad Says as an anti-homosexual retired naval officer Lt. Commander Wally Durham.
Born in the U.K., Mahoney immigrated to the U.S., arriving in Illinois to stay with his sister, who married a U.S. serviceman she’d met during the Second World War.
Following such jobs as editor of a medical magazine and teaching English at Western Illinois University, Mahoney was almost 40 when he decided on a late-in-life career change that saw him move to Chicago in order to study acting.
It wasn't long before he became entrenched in Chicago's vibrant theatre scene, becoming a regular performer at Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre. This led him to New York, where he won a Theatre World Award for his role in an off-Broadway production of "Orphans". He followed that up by winning a Tony Award in 1986 for a revival of John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves."
Hollywood beckoned, and Mahoney quickly became an in-demand character actor on the small and large screens thanks to memorable roles in such films as Tin Men, Moonstruck, Eight Men Out and Say Anything, playing the father of the teenage girl relentlessly pursued by John Cusack’s character.
In 1993, he was cast as Martin Crane in Frasier, NBC’s spinoff of Cheers in which Grammer’s straight-laced psychologist moved back to his hometown of Seattle. The show ran until 2004 and led to Mahoney receiving two Emmy nominations.
1952 – Today is the birthday of Indian poet, novelist, travel writer, librettist, children's writer, biographer and memoirist Vikram Seth. The author of five books of poetry and six books of prose, Seth is one of the most celebrated Indian writers of his generation.
Seth has expressly acknowledged his ten-year relationship with his former partner, Philippe Honoré. Indian-born San Francisco journalist Sandip Roy reports that Seth discussed the issue of his sexuality candidly in a television program with his sister Aradhana. In a book tour radio interview, Roy probed further: Seth said that this was not something he'd ever hidden, but that he just didn't wish to be defined by it. On the other hand, he said that he was conscious of the fact that being open about his sexuality might help other Bisexual or Gay people, and that he had given leave to his mother to write about it partially for that reason.
Seth has been increasingly forthright in recent years on the issue of Gay rights in his native India. In an interview on CNN-IBN aired 21 January 2006, Seth talked about the law in India relating to homosexuality. He called section 377 of the Indian Penal Code barbaric and archaic. He advocated its removal, saying that the British who introduced this have removed it in their own country. He gave three reasons for it being removed: it is silly (as India is following something outdated); it is cruel (as it causes intolerable pain and self-doubt); and it is harmful (as it promotes underground activities which pose a health problem). He wished that young Indians would not have to worry about their sexuality. He suggested that the government was afraid of losing votes and it was fear that drove its indisposition to amend the current draconian criminal sanctions against homosexuality.
1955 – Born: African-American author E. Lynn Harris's remarkable literary career was launched within the nurturing, gossiping community of the black beauty shop where black women go to transform themselves (d.2009). In the do-it-yourself spirit, Harris, a former IBM computer sales executive, hit the road and began to sell and distribute his self-published first novel, Invisible Life (1992). He brought the bookabout a man torn between loving a woman and another manto black book stores, book clubs, and, interestingly, to beauty shops, where his clientele was largely straight, black women and gay men. The strategy was successful; Anchor Books soon acquired Invisible Life, which quickly became a best-seller.
Five novels have followed, and Hollywood has optioned two of Harris's gossipy, sex-laden books for possible motion pictures. Harris's writing style is extremely easy to read and accessible. He produces the kind of page-turning books that can be read in a single sitting, and that appeal to a broad and diverse audience. Perhaps most significant, his work exposes bi- and homosexuality within the black middle classin the fraternities, among professionals, amidst a segment of the population with whom the subject of homosexuality is rarely broached. Harris's novels are romantic and upbeat. At the same time, however, he does not shy away from the explicitness and sometimes even the ugliness of homosexual relationships, as evidenced in his casual, almost brutal depictions of anonymous "trade" picked up in seedy adult bookstores.
Openly gay, Harris is best known for his depictions of African American men on the down-low or in the closet. The recurring character of closeted football player John "Basil" Henderson chronicles one man's inability or unwillingness to form solid relationships with other black gay men, while using them for sex. Although Harris documents the paranoia and fear that cause gay men to hurt themselves and one another, he also presents exceptionally grounded, proud, gay male lead characters, such as the drop-dead-gorgeous, too-good-to-be-true Zurich Thurgood Robinson in And This Too Shall Pass (1996).
These characters make their choices with little hesitation and no apologies. Within the African-American community, resistance to gays and lesbians has remained strong. It is significant, however, that Harris has been enthusiastically embraced by this community--in large measure due to the accessibility and honesty of his portrayals. Harris is surely the only out gay man who can be featured in a contest such as "Win a Dinner with E. Lynn Harris" in a national black women's magazine, as he was in Essence in July 2000. His sexuality is not an issue; his appeal is his success, which he achieved both because and in spite of the fact that he is a gay, black man.
Although Harris was not immune to prejudice and homophobia, his is a postmodern, gay success story. Appropriately, Harris has said that he considers himself not a gay writer, nor a black writer, nor yet a black, gay writer, but simply a writer.
Harris died suddenly on July 23, 2009 at the age of 54 while in Los Angeles for a business meeting. He was found unconscious at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, and was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
1969 – Peter Paige is an American actor, director and screenwriter. He came to fame as an actor as Emmett in Queer As Folk. His debut as director and writer was on the film Say Uncle.
Paige was born in West Hartford, Connecticut. He graduated from Boston University School of Theatre with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree summa cum laude.
Best known for his role as Emmett Honeycutt on Showtime's hit series Queer as Folk, Paige's other television credits include Will & Grace, Time of Your Life, Girlfriends, Caroline in the City, American Dad!, Related, Grey's Anatomy, The Closer and Without a Trace. His first audition in Los Angeles earned him a guest-starring role on Suddenly Susan.
Paige spent summer 2004 starring in his feature directorial debut, Say Uncle. Other film credits include Don McKellar's Childstar, and Showtime's Our America (which debuted at Sundance in 2002).
An accomplished stage actor, Paige has appeared at major regional theatres throughout the country, most notably in world premieres at La Jolla Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, and Playwrights Horizons. He has performed nearly every genre of play, from the Greeks to Shakespeare to contemporary American work.
Plays on his resume include Pantophobia, his two-man show written and performed with Abraham Higginbotham.
On February 6, 2013, it was announced that The Fosters, a show that Paige created along with Bradley Bredeweg, and produced by Jennifer Lopez was picked up by ABC Family. The series follows the lives of the Foster family, an interracial lesbian couple who are married and raising biological and adoptive children together. The series began airing on June 3, 2013.
He said of "coming out":
My coming out process was pretty good. I dated some guys in high school and a few of my friends knew about it. I think coming out is really an ongoing process, though. For me, the bulk of it occurred during college. I was lucky–my friends and family were supportive and I never lost a friend or anything like that.
And of Queer As Folk:
It’s such a great thing for the younger gay generation to be able to see images of themselves on television in shows like Queer as Folk, on the internet, and in the media in general. I think it’s really important to feel validated and represented in that way, and I’m glad that I can be seen not only as an openly gay character, but also as an openly gay actor. I didn’t have any of that growing up. But thank God I’m having a really satisfying career as a writer and a director. If I didn’t, I might be sitting around waiting for the phone to ring!
1977 – In Ottawa, Private Barbara Thornborrow is given notice of discharge by Canadian Armed Forces as a "sexual deviate" who is "not advantageously employable."
1981 – A Gay demonstration in Toronto, protesting the bathhouse raids of June 16, results in altercations with queer-bashers and police violence against demonstrators.
1981 – In Montreal the third annual Gay Pride Week (called "Gai-rilla") draws nearly fifteen thousand lesbians and gay men. The festival coincides with La fête nationale.
2008 – "I have my partner here on the phone and he just asked me to marry him. My answer, Madam Speaker, is yes." - New York State Assemblyman Matthew Titone, cellphone in his hand.
The chamber gave Titone a round of applause. The New York State Assembly had just approved a same sex marriage bill by an 85-61 vote. The Human Rights Campaign's Joe Solmonese released a statement saying, "We congratulate the New York Assembly for passing this important, fair-minded bill, and we also congratulate Empire State Pride Agenda and Marriage Equality NY for their hard work. We also thank Governor Spitzer for his leadership this bill got its start when the Governor followed through on his unequivocal promise to fight for marriage equality."
As of today (2010), they are still fighting to get this past the senate.
Update: See June 24
2013 – Exodus International, a group that claims it could cure same-sex attraction through prayer and therapy, announces it will close its doors after more than three decades. The organization's leader, John Paulk, who admitted to his own "ongoing same-sex attractions," apologizes to gays, saying, "I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn't change."