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

May 13

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1660 – In New Netherland Colony, J.Q. van der Linde, a married man, is tied into a sack and drowned for sodomy with an adolescent male. Three years later his widow files for bankruptcy.

 

1850 Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a Russian dramatist, opera librettist and translator (d.1916).

Modest Ilyich was the younger brother of the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He graduated from the School of Jurisprudence with a degree in law. Like many graduates of this school (including his brother) he was homosexual and lived relatively openly with the poet Aleksey Apukhtin and then with another boyfriend, Kolya Konradi. Modest became the tutor to the deaf-mute boy Nikolai ("Kolya") Hermanovich Konradi and, using a special teaching method, helped him to talk, write, and read - and they became lovers.

Tchaikovsky chose to dedicate his entire life to literature and music. He wrote plays, translated sonnets by Shakespeare into Russian and wrote librettos for operas of his brother, as well as other composers such as Eduard Nápravník, Arseny Koreshchenko, Anton Arensky and Sergei Rachmaninov. Being the nearest friend of his brother, he became his first biographer, and also the founder of Tchaikovsky's museum in Klin.

1892 – The Michigan Supreme Court rules that sodomy convictions can be based on unverified information.

 

1907 Daphne du Maurier (d.1989) was a British author and playwright. Many of her works have been adapted into films, including the novels Rebecca (which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1941) and Jamaica Inn and the short stories "The Birds" and "Don't Look Now". The first three were directed by Alfred Hitchcock and the last by Nicholas Roeg.

After her death in 1989, numerous references were made to her secret bisexuality; an affair with Gertrude Lawrence, as well as her attraction for Ellen Doubleday, the wife of her American publisher, were cited. Du Maurier stated in her memoirs that her father had wanted a son; and, being a tomboy, she had naturally wished to have been born a boy.

1909 Connecticut reduces the penalty for sodomy from a compulsory life sentence to a maximum of 30 years in prison.

 

1922 – Two-time Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-winning American comedian, actress and singer Bea Arthur was born on this date. (d.2009) During a career spanning six decades, Arthur was perhaps best remembered for her trademark role as the title character, "Maude Findlay," on the 1970s sitcom Maude, and for playing "Dorothy Zbornak," the divorced substitute teacher on The Golden Girls. She managed to become a gay icon for many men who grew up in the 1970s and 80s.

On stage, her roles included "Lucy Brown" in the 1954 Off- Broadway premiere of Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera, and "Yente the Matchmaker" in the 1964 premiere of Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, and a 1966 Tony Award-winning portrayal of "Vera Charles" to Angela Lansbury's Mame (She recreated the role in the unsuccessful film version opposite Lucille Ball in 1974).

Bea Arthur passed away April 25th 2009. Arthur bequeathed $300,000 to The Ali Forney Center, a New York City organization that provides housing for homeless LGBT youths. Arthur's longtime championing of civil rights for women, the elderly, and the Jewish & LGBT communities—in her two television roles and through her charity work and personal outspokenness—has led her to be cited as an LGBT icon.

 

1940 – The English novelist, archeologist and travel writer Bruce Chatwin was born in Sheffield England (d.1989). Chatwin's book include the travelogue In Patagonia (1977), The Viceroy of Ouidah (1980), on the slave trade in Benin, For The Songlines, on the power of Australian aboriginal music and On the Black Hill a novel on the relationship of twin brothers in Wales.

Chatwin is admired for his spare, lapidary style and his innate story-telling abilities. However, he has also been criticised for his fictionalised anecdotes of real people, places, and events. Frequently, the people he wrote about recognised themselves and did not always appreciate his distortions of their culture and behaviour. Chatwin was philosophical about what he saw as an unavoidable dilemma, arguing that his portrayals were not intended to be faithful representations. As his biographer Nicholas Shakespeare argues: "He tells not a half truth, but a truth and a half."

Much to the surprise of many of his friends, Chatwin married Elizabeth Chanler (a descendant of John Jacob Astor) on 26 August 1965. He had met Chanler at Sotheby's, where she worked as a secretary. Chatwin was bisexual throughout his married life, a circumstance his wife knew and accepted. They had no children. After fifteen years of marriage, she asked for a separation and sold their farmhouse at Ozleworth in Gloucestershire. Toward the end of his life, they reconciled. According to Chatwin's biographer Nicholas Shakespeare, the Chatwins' marriage seems to have been celibate. He describes Chatwin as homosexual rather than bisexual.

In the late 1980s, Chatwin contracted AIDS. He was one of the first high-profile sufferers of the disease in Britain and although he hid the illness - passing off his symptoms as fungal infections or the effects of the bite of a Chinese bat, a typically exotic cover story - it was a poorly kept secret. Chatwin told different stories about how he contracted the virus, such as that he was gang-raped in Dahomey, and that he believed he caught the disease from Sam Wagstaff, the patron and lover of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

He did not respond well to AZT, and suffered increasing bouts of psychosis which included extravagant shopping trips around the auction rooms of London - many of which purchases his wife quietly returned.

With his condition deteriorating rapidly, Chatwin and his wife went to live in the South of France at the house that belonged to the mother of his one-time lover, the designer Jasper Conran. Chatwin died in Nice in 1989 at age 48. The novelist Paul Theroux, Chatwin's one-time friend and fellow-writer, later commented on the memorial service in a piece he wrote for Granta, condemning Chatwin for failing to acknowledge that the disease he was dying of was AIDS.

Lovers of the French little black moleskin journals have undoubtedly read the story of Chatwin's popularizing of the books. The story goes that when the small bookmaker in Paris was going out of business, Chatwin bought out all of their stock to use on his travels.

 

1944 – Today is also the birthday of gay writer and serialist Armistead Maupin. Maupin is most famous for his six book "Tales of the City" series.

Maupin's early position on a Charleston newspaper was followed with an offer of a position at the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. He says he had known he was gay since childhood, but didn't have sex until he was 26 and only decided to come out in 1974 when he was about 30. The same year, he began what would become the Tales of the City series as a serial in a Marin County-based newspaper, the Pacific Sun, moving to the San Francisco Chronicle after the Sun's San Francisco edition folded.

His later novels include "The Night Listener" and "Maybe The Moon" and 2009's "Michael Tolliver Lives." His name, coincidentally, is an anagram of "is a man I dreamt up." It's a busy life for The Wonderful Mr. Maupin with a brand spanking new musical being prepared based on Tales of the City.

Maupin's former partner of 12 years, Terry Anderson, was once a gay rights activist (Maupin himself has done much of that sort of work), and co-authored the screenplay for The Night Listener. He lived with Anderson in San Francisco and New Zealand. Ian McKellen is a friend and Christopher Isherwood was a mentor, friend, and influence as a writer.

Maupin is married to Christopher Turner, a website producer and photographer whom he first saw on a dating website. He then "chased him down Castro Street, saying, 'Didn't I see you on Daddyhunt.com?'" Maupin and Turner were married in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on February 18, 2007, though Maupin says that they had called each other "husband" for two years prior.

 

1957 – Born: Alan Ball, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, director, producer and occasional actor , who is best known for writing the screenplay for the Oscar- winning film "American Beauty," and for creating the Emmy and Peabody Award- winning HBO original drama series "Six Feet Under."

Ball is gay and has been called "a strong voice for [the] LGBT community". In 2008 he made Out magazine's annual list of the 100 most impressive gay men and women. Alan Ball has, in numerous interviews, discussed his Buddhist faith and how it has influenced his film making. He lives with his partner, Peter Macdissi (who had a recurring role in Six Feet Under as Olivier) in Los Angeles.

It was not until Ball began achieving professional success that he found the courage to come out to his mother. She understood his trepidation about broaching the subject and admitted that the announcement made her uncomfortable.

"It took a little getting used to," she said, "but he gave me some books to read, and I understand that God made him like that."

Ball's brothers were immediately supportive when they learned of his homosexuality, but some other relatives were not accepting.

  


James Smith/Rupert Lear

1960James Lear is the nom-de-plume of prolific author Rupert Smith. Smith was born in Washington DC but grew up in England, and has lived in London for many decades. He started as a journalist for years, but he took to writing fiction in the 90s and wrote his first James Lear novel in the early 2000s. Since then, they’ve become some of the most widely-read gay erotic novels ever. The Low Road was the first.

 Rupert Smith, alias James Lear, was a big fan of Wayne County, the transgender singer, when he was younger, and went to see her London shows. When she came back to London as Jayne in the 80s, he got to know her by hanging around at the bar after shows and encouraging her to tell him stories about her life. Jayne is a natural raconteur, a candid autobiographer and a witty commentator on the times that she’s lived through, and eventually she agreed to collaborate on a book that would get all her tales down on paper. Man Enough to be a Woman was the first book with Smith's name on the cover.

His second book, Physique, arose out of another long friendship, this time with the photographer and writer John S. Barrington. Rupert Smith remembered his male nude photography from magazines he’d “read” in his teens, and decided to track him down for a profile in Square Peg magazine in 1986. That’s when he discovered that there was much more to Barrington than sexy pictures; he’d led an outrageous bohemian existence, knew and photographed Jean Cocteau and John Lennon and, to top it all, was married with children and grandchildren.

A few years ago, Rupert Smith was complaining to a fellow writer about his inability to find a publisher for his second novel. "Have you ever thought of writing porn?" the other writer asked. "It's easy to get published, and you sell a lot of books." Smith rushed home and embarked without much thought on a filthy homosexual rewrite of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, entitled The Low Road. He tossed it off in about a month, and under the alias of James Lear, it was duly published by the gay porn imprint Zipper Books.

The Low Road sold its edition quickly, and Rupert Smith, alias James Lear, was asked for another – this time a steamy backstage drama modelled on Gerald du Maurier's Trilby, entitled The Palace of Varieties. It took longer, because he took a great deal more care over it, and again, it enjoyed brisk sales. Then Zipper Books ceased publication, and there the story might have ended – but for the fact that James Lear – his "nom de porn" – had developed a life of his own.

Rupert Smith was surprised by the enthusiasm with which these books were greeted, and felt reluctant to let the project fizzle out. Without a UK publisher – none of the straight erotic imprints would touch gay material – he turned to the US, and was picked up by the San Francisco-based Cleis Press. They saw the potential in the third James Lear novel – a country house murder mystery entitled The Back Passage – and published it in 2006. Since then, it's regularly topped Amazon's gay and adult bestseller lists on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

1962 Réal Ménard, born in Montreal, Quebec, is a Canadian politician, who was a Bloc Québécois member of the Canadian House of Commons from 1993 to 2009. He was the second Canadian Member of Parliament to come out as gay (the first being Svend Robinson).

He first stood for federal office in the 1984 federal election as candidate for the small Parti nationaliste du Québec in Hochelaga–Maisonneuve. Defeated in this first try, he contested the riding in the 1993 election for the new and larger Bloc Québécois. He was elected, and re-elected in the riding in the 1997 and 2000 elections. Following redistricting, he was re-elected in the new riding of Hochelaga in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 federal elections.

In June 2009, Ménard announced that he was resigning from the House of Commons, effective September 16, in order to run as a Vision Montreal candidate for borough mayor of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in Montreal's 2009 municipal election. He won election to the borough mayoralty on November 1, 2009.

1974Time Magazine reports of "The New Bisexuals." The magazine says "bisexuals, like homosexuals before them, are boldly coming out of their closets, forming clubs, having parties and staking out discotheques." The article cites Kinsey and feminism as causes for the rise in visibility.

1976 Montreal police raid gay clubs, including the Taureau d'Or, Studio One, the Stork Club, the Crystal Baths, and Jilly's, a lesbian bar.

1979 – In London, Ontario, the Ontario division of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) at its annual conference opposes discrimination on basis of sexual orientation and urges local affiliates to include it in non-discrimination clauses of collective agreements.

1985 – U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Georgia's sodomy laws were unconstitutional. The Georgia State Attorney General appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which reversed the lower decision.

 Added 2022

 

1986Azariah Southworth is an American writer and former television presenter of The Remix - a syndicated reality show on the NRB, TBN, JCTV, and VTN networks. The Remix featured Christian artists such as Jars of Clay, Rachael Lampa, Shane & Shane and watched by more than 200,000 viewers a week.

Raised in Orland, Indiana, Southworth currently resides in Los Angeles. He announced he is gay on Wednesday, April 16, 2008, stating, "This has been a long time coming. I’m in a place where I’m at peace with my faith, friends, family and more importantly myself. I know this will end my career in Christian television, but I must now live my life openly and honestly with everyone. This is my reason for doing this."

After making this public to Out & About Newspaper in Nashville, Southworth subsequently became the first Christian entertainer to come out publicly. The story was covered by The Huffington Post, PerezHilton.com, The Advocate, and Fox News Channel.

After coming out, Southworth was named one of Instinct's "Leading Men of 2008".

Southworth has advocated for LGBT rights with the Soulforce Q "2008 Equality Ride".

In 2010, Southworth was the opening act for gay Christian singer Ray Boltz on his "Living True: The Tour". In 2020, Audity launched Yass, Jesus!, a LGBTQ and faith affirming podcast, with Southworth and Daniel Franzese (Mean Girls, Looking) as the hosts. The show aims to help others see the queer and trans narratives in the Bible through storytelling and comedy. Yass, Jesus! is produced by Ross Murray and Meredith Paulley.

 

1987 – (Matthew Finnen) Matt Doyle is an American actor and singer-songwriter living in New Jersey. He is perhaps best known for his work in Spring Awakening, War Horse and The Book of Mormon on Broadway and as Glenn Mangan / Juliet in 2011 Shakespeare film adaptation Private Romeo directed by Alan Brown. He has also been developing a singing career with live shows and two EPs Daylight (2011) and Constant (2012). He released his first full-length album, Uncontrolled, on February 26, 2016.

After graduating from Redwood High School in Larkspur, California, Doyle went on to study classical theatre for a year at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Following his studies, Doyle moved to New York City. He was soon added into the original company of Spring Awakening.

1987 – During a speech at Northeastern University in Boston, presidential candidate Jesse Jackson criticized the Reagan administration's response to AIDS and opposed mandatory HIV testing. While thousands were dying, mostly Gay men at that time, Ronald Reagan, the sitting president at the time, had never mentioned their deaths or AIDS in public. Not even once. Jackson's decrying the government's inaction brought the issue to the presidential race.

1998 Timothy R. McVeigh was promoted to master chief petty officer, the Navy's highest enlisted rank. He was chosen from a pool of 168 candidates. The Navy had attempted to discharge him after discovering his AOL profile said he was gay. As such he became the first person to ever win a case against the U.S. military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. (He is not to be confused with Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma bomber).

 

1992Tommy Dorfman is an American actor known for his role as Ryan Shaver in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why (2017).

Dorfman was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Fordham University's drama program in 2015 with a B.A. in theatre arts. After graduating, he was cast in the role of Ryan Shaver on the Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why, which premiered in 2017. Also that year, he helped design a fashion collection with ASOS, and, in October, was honored with the Rising Star Award by GLAAD.

Dorfman is openly gay. Dorfman and Peter Zurkuhlen became engaged in April 2015 and were married in Portland, Maine, on November 12, 2016.

In June 2018, Dorfman came out as non-binary.

1999 – The Human Rights Campaign announced that it would run a counter ad to recent anti-gay television ads, urging parents to teach their children tolerance.

1999 – The general manager of the New York Liberty WNBA basketball team Carol Blazejowski came out publically at the WNBA team's Media Day.

2013 – Sex-sex marriage is legalized by Minnesota, the twelfth state to do so.

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TODAY'S GAY WISDOM

Armistead Maupin

My only regret about being Gay is that I repressed it for so long. I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don't make that mistake yourself. Life's too damn short.
-Armistead Maupin
[Editors Note: This is the quote that appeared on one of the Starbucks quote cups a few years ago that so irritated religious fundamentalists that they threatened a boycott.]

***

I've always been proud of the fact that I've been openly gay longer than just about anybody writing today ... but I never intended for that declaration to mean that I was narrowing my focus in any way, or joining a niche ... now publishing has decided there's money in this, or at least a market ... now a formalised thing has sprung up which I think is extremely detrimental to anybody beginning to write today. ... It's possible to write a novel now which has gay themes, which has any truth you want to speak, that can be sold to a mainstream publisher and sold in a mainstream bookstore, so the notion of people who've narrowed their focus to only write books for a gay audience for gay people about gay people is stifling to me; in some ways, it's another form of the closet, as far as I'm concerned. I think Jerry Falwell must be very happy with those little cubby-holes at the back of book stores that say 'gay and lesbian' - it's a warning sign, they can keep their kids away from that section. I'd like people to stumble on my works in the literature section of Barnes and Noble and have their lives changed because of it.

It's complicated. I don't want to feel any less queer, but I think for us to march along in a dutiful little herd called 'gay and lesbian literature' and have little seminars that we hold together is pointless at this point, it makes no sense to me at all. ... I cringe when I get 'gay writer' each time. Why the modifier? I'm a writer. It's like calling Amy Tan a Chinese-American writer every time you mention her name, or Alice Walker a black writer. We're all discussing the human condition. Some of us have revolutionised writing by bringing in subject-matter that nobody's heard about before. But we don't want that to narrow the definition of who we are as an artist. ... I don't mind being cross-shelved. I'm very proud of being in the gay and lesbian section, but I don't want to be told that I can't sit up in the front of the book store with the straight, white writers.

MAY 14 →

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