Table of Contents

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 16th

[{(o)}]|[{(o)}]|[{(o)}]|[{(o)}]| [{(o)}]|[{(o)}]


1898Tamara De Lempicka, Polish Art Deco painter, born (d.1980); born Maria Górska in Warsaw, her distinctive and bold artistic style developed quickly (influenced by what Lhote sometimes referred to as "soft cubism" and by Denis' "synthetic cubism") and epitomized the cool yet sensual side of the Art Deco movement. For her, Picasso "embodied the novelty of destruction." She thought that many of the Impressionists drew badly and employed "dirty" colors. De Lempicka technique would be novel, clean, precise, and elegant.

During the Roaring 20s Paris, Tamara de Lempicka was part of the bohemian life: she knew Picasso, Cocteau and Andre Gide. Famous for her libido, she was bisexual, and her affairs with both men and women were carried out in ways that were scandalous at the time.

She often used formal and narrative elements in her portraits and nude studies to produce overpowering effects of desire and seduction. In the 1920s she became closely associated with Lesbian and bisexual women in writing and artistic circles, such as Violet Trefusis, Vita Sackville-West and Colette. She also became involved with Suzy Solidor, a nightclub singer at Boite de Nuit, whom she later painted. Her husband eventually tired of their arrangement; he abandoned her in 1927, and they were divorced in 1928.

1913 Arizona passes a new criminal code and extends its sodomy law to cover fellatio, but not cunnilingus. The code also permits a wife to testify at her discretion either for or against her husband if he is on trial for the "crime against nature." It also reduces the penalty to a maximum of 5 years in prison.


1919 – Today is the birthday of the sequined pianist and entertainer Wladziu Valentino Liberace. (d.1987) best known simply as Liberace, famous American pianist and vocalist. In a career that spanned four decades of concerts, recordings, motion pictures, television and endorsements, Liberace became world-renowned. During the 1950s-1970s he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world and embraced a lifestyle of flamboyant excess both on and off the stage. 'Lee' was as closeted as they come, despite his parade of "drivers," "assistants" and "proteges."

Liberace's fame in the United States was matched for a time in the United Kingdom. In 1956, an article in The Daily Mirror by veteran columnist Cassandra (William Connor) mentioned that Liberace was " ... the summit of sex—the pinnacle of masculine, feminine, and neuter. Everything that he, she, and it can ever want... a deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love," a description which did everything it could to imply he was homosexual without actually saying so.

Liberace sent a telegram that read: "What you said hurt me very much. I cried all the way to the bank." (This phrase was already in use by the 1940s.) He sued the newspaper for libel, testifying in a London court that he was not a homosexual and had never taken part in homosexual acts. He won the suit, partly on the basis of the term fruit-flavoured, which was held to impute homosexuality. The £8,000 damages he received from The Daily Mirror (approximately $22,000) led Liberace to repeat the catchphrase to reporters: "I cried all the way to the bank!" Liberace's popularization of the phrase inspired the title of Crying All the Way to the Bank, a detailed report of the trial based on transcripts, court reports and interviews, by the former Daily Mirror journalist Revel Barker.

Liberace fought and settled a similar case in the United States against Confidential. Rumors and gossip magazines frequently alleged behavior that strongly implied that he was homosexual. A typical issue of Confidential in 1957 shouted, "Why Liberace's Theme Song Should Be 'Mad About the Boy!'"

In 1982, Scott Thorson, Liberace's 24-year-old bodyguard, limo driver, and alleged live-in boyfriend of five years, sued the pianist for $113 million in palimony after an acrimonious split-up. Liberace continued publicly to deny that he was homosexual and insisted that Thorson was never his lover. In 1984, most of Thorson's claim was dismissed, although he received a $95,000 settlement. Thorson claimed in his book, published after Liberace died, he settled because "I did not want to fight it out with a dying man." Thorson claimed his lawsuit was legitimate and ultimately got twisted in litigation.

Confusion over Liberace's true sexuality was further muddled in the public's mind by his public friendships and romantic links with actress Joanne Rio (whom he claimed he nearly married), skater Sonja Henie, aging Hollywood icon Mae West, and famous transsexual Christine Jorgensen. Many publicity releases and women's magazine articles attempted to counter the homosexuality rumors by portraying Liberace as "the perfect all-around man any woman would be thrilled to be with... He's so considerate on dates... He never forgets the little things that women love... He makes you feel that when you are with him, well, you really are with him." Another article was "Mature Women Are Best: TV's Top Pianist Reveals What Kind of Woman He'd Marry."

Liberace died of cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonia as a result of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) on February 4, 1987 at his winter home in Palm Springs, California. He was 67 years old. The original cause of death was attributed variously to anemia, emphysema, and heart disease, the latter of which was attested to by Liberace's personal physician, Dr Ronald Daniels. The Riverside County coroner conducting the autopsy stated there had been a deliberate attempt to hide the actual cause of death. Based on tissue samples obtained from Liberace's body after death, the coroner officially ruled the star's death to be the result of complications due to AIDS. How and when Liberace became HIV positive has never been made public. Author Darden Asbury Pyron writes that Liberace had been "HIV-positive and symptomatic" from 1985 until his death.

In a 2011 interview, actress and close friend Betty White confirmed that Liberace was gay, and that she often served as a date to counter rumors of the musician's homosexuality.

Behind the Candelabra, a movie of Liberace's life, in particular his life with Scott Thorson, was released in May 2013. It stars Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Thorson, his chauffeur/lover. It makes no bones that Liberace was gay or that he died of complications from AIDS.


1929 – Poet, essayist and theorist Adrienne Rich was born (d.2012). In 1953, Rich married Alfred Haskell Conrad, an economics professor at Harvard, whom she had met as an undergraduate. She had said of the match "I married in part because I knew no better way to disconnect from my first family ... I wanted what I saw as a full woman's life, whatever was possible." They settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts and had three sons.

In 1955 she published her second volume, The Diamond Cutters, a collection she says she wishes had not been published. In 1964, Rich joined the New Left and in 1966, she moved with her family to New York, becoming involved in anti-war, civil rights and feminist activism; her husband took a teaching position at City College of NewYork. In 1968, she signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.

Rich's activism and increasing politicization are reflected the poems in her next three collections. Increasingly militant, Rich hosted anti-Vietnam and Black Panther fundraising parties at their apartment; tensions began to split the marriage, Conrad fearing that his wife had lost her mind. The couple separated in mid-1970 and shortly afterward, in October, Conrad drove into the woods and shot himself.

In coming out as a lesbian in 1976, Rich's feminist position crystallized. In this year she published the controversial volume Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. She wrote, "The suppressed lesbian I had been carrying in me since adolescence began to stretch her limbs."

In 1974, her collection Diving Into the Wreck won the National Book Award for Poetry, which she shared with Allen Ginsberg. Rich was joined by feminist poets Alice Walker and Audre Lorde to accept it on behalf of all women. In 1976, began a relationship with Jamaican-born novelist and editor Michelle Cliff. Ultimately, they moved to Northern California, where Rich continued her career as a professor, lecturer, poet, and essayist. Cliff and Rich took over editorship of the lesbian journal Sinister Wisdom in 1981.

On the role of the poet, Rich has written,

"We may feel bitterly how little our poems can do in the face of seemingly out-of-control technological power and seemingly limitless corporate greed, yet it has always been true that poetry can break isolation, show us to ourselves when we are outlawed or made invisible, remind us of beauty where no beauty seems possible, remind us of kinship where all is represented as separation."

In 1997, Adrienne Rich refused the National Medal of Arts, stating that

"I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration ...[Art] means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage."


1943John A. Holm (d.2015) was an American academic. He was Chair of English Linguistics and History of Civilizations at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He produced a landmark study, a two-volume "Pidgins and Creoles" which traced the socio-historical evolution of the two language forms.

Holm was born in Jackson, Michigan and graduated from Jackson High School in 1961. While hitchhiking through Mexico and Central America in his teenage years, Holm heard black Nicaraguans on the Caribbean coast, speaking a non-Spanish language that seemed familiar to him. They called it “Pirate English”, a reference to its probable origin on pirate and British Navy ships.He received a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of London in 1978 with his thesis "The creole English of Nicaragua's Miskito Coast : its sociolinguistic history and a comparative study of its lexicon and syntax.

He is a specialist on the history and languages of the Caribbean peoples, and the author of many books and articles on those subjects. He is editor with Susanne Maria Michaelis of the series Contact languages : critical concepts in language studies.

Thanks to the study of creoles, he showed that because of its importance in Barbados, the white population is the starting point of most of the english creoles that are spoken by the Indian, white and black peoples in most parts of the Caribbean and Carolina.

He also wrote the only one dictionary of Bahamian English. He died on December 28, 2015 in Azeitão, Portugal from prostate cancer, survived by his husband Michael Pye.


1947 Barry Lowe is an openly gay Australian playwright, short fiction writer, and journalist. In 1988 he wrote The Death of Peter Pan, a play exploring the relationships between J. M. Barrie and the Llewelyn Davies boys, and Michael Llewelyn Davies's life after he falls for Rupert Buxton. His work deals heavily – but not exclusively - with homosexual themes, especially reenacting the lives of artists and entertainers, including artist and occultist Rosaleen Norton, actor Sal Mineo, broadcaster Tokyo Rose, vaudeville legend Mae West, playwrights Oscar Wilde and Joe Orton, porn stars Jon Vincent and Joey Stefano, and torch singers Ruth Etting, Helen Morgan, Lillian Roth, and Libby Holman.

He was editor of the Australian gay magazine Campaign from 1981–1987. He has written numerous reviews and conducted interviews with entertainers for various Australian publications. He plotted the erotic comic strip Bimbo Beach illustrated by John Dobie.

For a period of time he pursued stage management and acting, and managed a small theatre space in 1982–1983 but turned increasingly to writing for the stage. One of his early successes was Relative Merits, about a young man coming to grips with his older brother, an athlete he idolizes, being exposed as gay and as a person with AIDS. Another was Homme Fatale, about gay porn icon Joey Stefano, who had been infected with HIV and died of drug overdose. His other plays include Seeing Things, Rehearsing the Shower Scene from ‘Psycho’, and The Extraordinary Annual General Meeting of the Size-Queen Club.

He lives in the Sydney, Australia with Walter, his partner since 1972.

1953 – The Georgia Court of Appeals rejects a civil suit by a mother against a theatre for employing a man who had sex with her son.


1954Jónína Leósdóttir, born; author and playwright and spouse of the Icelandic Prime Minister, Jóhanna Sigurardóttir, who is the first openly gay head of government in modern history. Jónína has worked as a journalist and editor since 1985. She has also written two novels and two biographies and translated several books from English into Icelandic. Twelve of Jónína's plays have been produced on stage, television and radio and she has received two awards for play writing. Her plays include Table for Two, To Be Or Not To Be, The Secret, and The Palm-Reader.

1957 – The Virgin Islands outlaws oral sex. (How come they didn't outlaw ALL sex?)


1958Sean Strub is a writer and activist who is the director of The Sero Project, a national network of people with HIV combating stigma and injustice, the mayor of Milford, Pennsylvania, and the owner of Milford's Hotel Fauchere, an historic European-style boutique hotel and restaurant.

In the early 1990s, he founded POZ magazine and POZ en Español, (for people impacted by HIV/AIDS), Mamm (for women impacted by breast cancer), Real Health (an African American health magazine) and, from 2000 to 2008, he published Milford Magazine (a regional title distributed in the Delaware River Highlands area of north-east Pennsylvania).

He is a long-term AIDS survivor and has been an outspoken advocate for the self-empowerment movement for people with HIV/AIDS. In 2009 he was president of Cable Positive, the cable and telecommunications' industry's AIDS response. From 2010 to 2012 he served on the board of directors of the Amsterdam-based Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+) and co-chaired their North American regional affiliate. He has been a leader in combating HIV-related criminalization and in 2010 launched the Positive Justice Project with the Center for HIV Law & Policy.

In 1990, he ran for the House of Representatives to represent New York's 22nd congressional district (which in those days included Rockland County and parts of Orange, Westchester and Sullivan Counties). He was the first openly HIV+ candidate for federal office in the U.S. and received 46% of the Democratic primary vote. He was a long-time member of ACT UP New York and, in 1992, produced an off-Broadway play, The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, written by and starring David Drake.

His memoir, Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival was published in January 2014. Strub co-authored Rating America's Corporate Conscience, a guide to corporate social responsibility, with Steve Lydenberg and Alice Tepper Marlin and Cracking the Corporate Closet with Daniel B. Baker and Bill Henning.

In 1989 Strub asked pop artist Keith Haring to create a logo and poster to launch National Coming Out Day, now also a part of the Human Rights Campaign.

Strub was one of the AIDS activists who put a giant condom over then-US Senator Jesse Helms's suburban Washington home in 1991.

1977 - Alabama passes a new criminal code that reduces the penalty for sodomy from a felony to a misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to one year in jail. Married couples are exempted from its coverage.

1987HIV-Positive people are banned from entering the United States by the U.S. Public Health Service. President Obama lifts the ban in 2009.


1991Joey Graceffa is an American YouTube personality, actor, author, producer, and singer. He has two active YouTube channels, both of which are named after him. One of them is for vlogging and the other is used for video gaming content.

They both have a combined total of more than 1.7 billion views. His other YouTube channel, which he no longer uses, called WinterSpringPro, has 60 million views (as of August 2017).

He was a contestant on 22nd and 24th seasons of The Amazing Race and has appeared in short films (as web films) and short web television series on YouTube and its subscription-only service YouTube Red.

1991 Same-sex sexual activity is legalized in the Bahamas.

2000 – The Louisiana Supreme Court strikes down the state's law against "obscene devices," finding a constitutional right to them. (The right to bear dildos?)

2007Pride events in the Baltic region faced threats of violence and attempts to be banned by local authorities. In 2006, an LGBT Pride march in Riga was banned because of security threats against the participants. On this day in 2007, the Pride march was allowed to go ahead, but inside an enclosed park. Outside of the park, crowds of counter-demonstrators shouted abuses at the Pride marchers and threw two devices which exploded in the park. Amnesty International has been supporting Pride events in the Baltic region through campaigning, participation and monitoring since 2008.

2010 – On this date a gay couple in Malawi were sentenced to 14 years of hard labor in prison. Steven Monjenza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, conducted a traditional engagement ceremony in late December in Chirimba, near Blantyre. After news reports surfaced of the same-sex engagement, they were rounded up by Malawi's police and charged under colonial-era sodomy laws. The arrest received some popular support in the conservative southern African nation, but sparked outrage among Malawian and international gay rights campaigners. The presiding judge refused bail for the men, who are being held in Chichiru Prison in Blantyre.

"It is quite outrageous," said Peter Tatchell, a gay rights activist from Britain who is supporting the pair. "In Malawi, people facing much more serious felony charges for serious crimes usually get bail." Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for the release of the young men. The Malawi Law Society said the case has been driven by prejudice and not jurisprudence.

Chimbalanga sent activist Peter Tatchell this defiant message from jail: "If people or the world cannot give me the chance and freedom to continue living with him as my lover, then I am better off to die here in prison. Freedom without him is useless and meaningless."

MAY 17 →

[{(o)}]|[{(o)}]|[{(o)}]|[{(o)}]| [{(o)}]|[{(o)}]