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
1810 – Scotland: Young Jane Cummings makes an accusation of "inordinate affection" between two female teachers Marianne Woods, 27, and Jane Pirie, 26, in Edinburgh. This is the first of a series of events leading to a dramatic trial and which later became the basis for the Broadway play and film "The Children's Hour," in 1934 by Lillian Hellman.
1874 – Adolf Brand (d.1945) was a German writer, individualist anarchist and pioneering campaigner for the acceptance of male bisexuality and homosexuality.
Born in Berlin in 1874, Brand became a school teacher briefly before establishing a publishing firm and producing a German homosexual periodical, Der Eigene (The Own) in 1896. This was the first ongoing homosexual publication in the world, and ran until 1931. The name was taken from writings of egoist philosopher Max Stirner, who had greatly influenced the young Brand, and refers to Stirner's concept of "self-ownership" of the individual. Der Eigene concentrated on cultural and scholarly material, and may have had an average of around 1500 subscribers per issue during its lifetime, although the exact numbers are uncertain. Contributors included Erich Mühsam, Kurt Hiller, John Henry Mackay (under the pseudonym Sagitta) and artists Wilhelm von Gloeden, Fidus and Sascha Schneider. Brand contributed many poems and articles himself. Brand's writings, together with those of other contributors to Der Eigene, aimed at a revival of Greek pederasty as a cultural model for modern homosexuality.
Brand became involved in Magnus Hirschfeld's Scientific-Humanitarian Committee (the first public homosexual rights organization), until there was a split in 1903; that same year Brand led the formation of the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen organisation with the scientist Benedict Friedlaender as principal theorist, and Wilhelm Jansen. To this new group, male-male love, in particular that of an older man for a youth, was viewed as a simple aspect of virile manliness available to all men; they rejected the medical theories of doctors such as Magnus Hirschfeld who found that a gay man was a certain type of person, the intermediate sex.
The GdE was a sort of scouting movement that echoed the warrior creed of Sparta and the ideals of pederasty in Ancient Greece. The GdE was heavily involved with camping and trekking and occasionally practiced nudism - the latter then common as part of the Nacktkultur ('culture of nudity') sweeping Germany.
Long before the advent of the term, Brand was a proponent of "outing" politicians who publicly proclaimed anti-gay positions while privately practicing homosexuality. In 1904, he claimed in print that Friedrich Dasbach, a Center Party Reichstag delegate, consorted with male prostitutes. Dasbach threatened to sue Brand for libel, but they reached an out-of-court settlement. In 1907, Brand claimed in print that German chancellor Prince von Bülow (1849-1929) had a long-standing homosexual relationship with Privy Councilor Max Scheefer. This time Brand was brought to court on libel charges and was sentenced to eighteen months in prison.
Brand was also sentenced to two months in prison in 1905 for publishing allegedly "lewd writings" in Der Eigene. During World War I Brand and the GdE curtailed their activities for the duration; Brand served in the German army for two years and married a nurse, Elise Behrendt. After the war the enforcement of Paragraph 175 slowly declined.
The GdE and other groups formed a united 'action committee' with Magnus Hirschfeld's group, to formulate a new law. In 1925 more groups joined and the larger Cartel for Reform of the Law against Sexual Offenses was formed. Despite a new law being drafted, it was not voted on, and by 1929 there was no further chance to reform Paragraph 175.
Adolf Brand gave up homosexual activism in the early 1930s, after constant harassment from the Nazis who silenced Der Eigene, destroyed his life's work and left him in financial ruin. After the sacking and burning of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, he finally sent a public letter to his followers announcing the end of the movement.
He and his wife were killed by an Allied bomb on 2 February 1945. He was 70.
1900 – Aaron Copland (d.1990) was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers". He is best known to the public for the works he wrote in the 1930s and 40s in a deliberately more accessible style than his earlier pieces, including the ballets Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, Rodeo and his Fanfare for the Common Man. However, he wrote music in different styles at different periods of his life: his early works incorporated jazz or avant-garde elements whereas his later music incorporated serial techniques. In addition to his ballets and orchestral works he produced music in many other genres including chamber music, vocal works, opera and film scores.
Throughout his childhood, Copland and his family lived above his parents' Brooklyn shop, H.M. Copland's, which Aaron would later describe as "a kind of neighborhood Macy's." His sister Laurine had the strongest connection with Aaron, giving him his first piano lessons, promoting his musical education, and supporting him in his musical career. She attended the Metropolitan Opera School and was a frequent opera goer. She often brought home libretti for Aaron to study. Copland attended Boys' High School and in the summer went to various camps. Most of his early exposure to music was at Jewish weddings and ceremonies, and occasional family musicales.
By the age of 15, after attending a concert by composer-pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Copland decided to become a composer. After attempts to further his music study from a correspondence course, Copland took formal lessons in harmony, theory, and composition from Rubin Goldmark, a noted teacher and composer of American music. After graduating from high school, Copland played in dance bands. Continuing his musical education, he received further piano lessons from Victor Wittgenstein.
From 1917 to 1921, Copland composed juvenile works of short piano pieces and art songs. Copland's passion for the latest European music, plus glowing letters from his friend Aaron Schaffer, inspired him to go to Paris for further study.
Upon returning to America, Copland was determined to make his way as a full-time composer. He rented a studio apartment on New York City's Upper West Side, which kept him close to Carnegie Hall and other musical venues and publishers. He remained in that area for the next thirty years, later moving to Westchester County, New York. Copland lived frugally and survived financially with help from two $2,500 Guggenheim Fellowshipsone in 1925 and one in 1926.
During this time, he composed (for radio broadcast) "Prairie Journal," one of his first pieces to convey the landscape of the American West.
In 1939, Copland completed his first two Hollywood film scores, for Of Mice and Men and Our Town, and received sizable commissions. In the same year, he composed the radio score "John Henry", based on the folk ballad. But it wasn't until the worldwide market for classical recordings boomed after World War II that he achieved economic security. Even after securing a comfortable income, he continued to write, teach, lecture and eventually conduct.
The decade of the 1940s was arguably Copland's most productive, and it firmly established his worldwide fame. His two ballet scores for Rodeo (1942) and Appalachian Spring (1944) were huge successes. His pieces Lincoln Portrait and Fanfare for the Common Man have become patriotic standards. Also important was the Third Symphony. Composed in a two-year period from 1944 to 1946, it became the most popular American symphony of the 20th Century.
Copland finished the 1940s with two film scores, one for William Wyler's 1949 film, The Heiress and one for the film adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel The Red Pony.
Copland was a strong supporter of the Presidential candidacy of Henry A. Wallace on the Progressive Party ticket. As a result, he was later investigated by the FBI during the Red scare of the 1950s and found himself blacklisted. Copland was included on an FBI list of 151 artists thought to have Communist associations.Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn questioned Copland about his lecturing abroad, neglecting completely Copland's works which made a virtue of American values.
Copland's health deteriorated through the 1980s, and he died of Alzheimer's disease and respiratory failure on December 2, 1990, in North Tarrytown, New York (now Sleepy Hollow). Much of his large estate was bequeathed to the creation of the Aaron Copland Fund for Composers, which bestows over $600,000 per year to performing groups.
Copland is documented as a homosexual man in author Howard Pollack's biography, Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man. Like many of his contemporaries he guarded his privacy, especially in regard to his homosexuality, providing very few written details about his private life. However, unlike many gay men of his age, Copland was neither ashamed of nor tortured by his sexuality. He apparently understood and accepted it from an early age, and throughout his life was involved in relationships with other men. He was one of the few composers of his stature to live openly and travel with his lovers, most of whom were talented, much younger men. Among Copland's love affairs, most of which lasted for only a few years yet became enduring friendships, were ones with composer Leonard Bernstein, photographer Victor Kraft, artist Alvin Ross, pianist Paul Moor, dancer Erik Johns, and composer John Brodbin Kennedy.
1906 – Albrecht Becker (d.2002) was a production designer, photographer, and actor, who was imprisoned by the Nazi regime for the charge of homosexuality.
Born in Thale, Germany, he trained as a teacher. At eighteen he began a relationship with an older man that lasted ten years. He was an actor and production designer. His partner was the Director of the State Archive in Würzburg. Through this contact he met an array of influential and artistic people. He traveled around the world and developed a lsense of culture and sophistication.
He devoted himself completely to photography. While living in Freiburg and Vienna he showed his first exhibitions and earned his first commissions. He supplemented his income by providing photographs for newspapers and magazines.
Würzburg is a small town in the southern state of Bavaria. Living in Würzburg in the 1930s was a Jewish wine merchant by the name of Dr. Leopold Obermayer. Obermayer apparently complained to the local police department that his mail was being opened. The complaint was investigated by the Gestapo, who took the liberty to search Obermayer's home and discovered a number of photographs of young men in his safe. One of these photographs was of Albrecht Becker. Becker was brought in for questioning in 1935 on suspicion of violating Paragraph 175. Becker reportedly declared: "Everybody knows I'm a homosexual." Both Obermayer and Becker were put on trial. Becker was sentenced to three years in prison at Nürnberg. Obermayer was also convicted of violating Paragraph 175, but as a Jew was sent to Dachau. He was tortured there and sent to Mauthausen, where he died.
Towards the end of the war as the need to replace losses increased Becker was released in order to serve in the Wehrmacht. He served on the Russian front until 1944. Becker spoke of his experiences during the war in the 2000 documentary Paragraph 175.
1908 – (Joseph Raymond) Joe McCarthy (d.1957) was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion. He was noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the United States federal government and elsewhere. Homosexuals were particularly suspect of Communistic leanings.
McCarthy made accusations of Communist infiltration into the State Department, the administration of President Harry S. Truman, Voice of America, and the United States Army. He also used charges of communism, communist sympathies, or disloyalty to attack a number of politicians and other individuals inside and outside of government. Thousands of careers and lives were destroyed by his wild accusations
For a time, he was one of the most feared - and hated - men in America.
With the highly publicized Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954, McCarthy's support and popularity began to fade. On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to censure Senator McCarthy by a vote of 67 to 22, making him one of the few senators ever to be disciplined in this fashion. McCarthy died in Bethesda Naval Hospital on May 2, 1957, at the age of 48. The official cause of death was acute hepatitis; it is widely accepted that this was exacerbated by alcoholism. There is no substance to the rumor the he, himself, was homosexual.
The term McCarthyism, coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices of demagoguery, baseless defamation, and mudslinging, was soon applied to similar anti-communist activities. Today the term is used more generally in reference to demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character and/or patriotism of political opponents.
1920 – Bertram Ross (d.2003) was an American dancer best known for his work with the Martha Graham Dance Company, with which he performed for two decades. He was Martha Graham’s longtime dance partner and the originator of male roles in most of her major ballets from the 1950s and 1960s, including Adam in Embattled Garden, and both Agamemnon and Orestes in Clytemnestra. After leaving Graham's company, Ross taught, choreographed and formed his own dance company. In later life, he toured in a cabaret duo with his real life partner, the composer and pianist John Wallowitch.
Ross was born Bertram Ross Prensky in Brooklyn, New York. He was introduced to the performing arts at an early age. At the urging of his mother, he studied piano, but initially was more interested in painting. He attended Oberlin College, then spent World War II as a mapmaker for the Army. In 1947, he returned to New York to continue painting studies at the Art Students League. Shortly thereafter, he discovered Martha Graham.
Ross began taking classes at Martha Graham's School under the GI Bill. When he received a scholarship from Connecticut College he took dance classes there as the first male student, then toured briefly with the Dudley-Maslow-Bales Dance Trio.
In 1949, Graham invited Ross to join her company. In 1953, he first partnered her as Oedipus, to her Jocasta, in the ballet Night Journey. Merce Cunningham had left the troupe in 1951, so she needed replacements for some of his roles. Graham was 59 years of age at the time, Ross, 33. Ross' superb technique, powerful, dignified stage presence, and craggy good looks, also garnered him lead parts in many of Graham's new choreographic works.
After leaving the Martha Graham Dance Company, Ross performed as a guest artist with other dance companies, taught Graham technique and choreographed. Ross held classes at Juilliard, New York University and the Mary Anthony Studio. During the 1970s and 1980s, he toured with his own troupe, Bertram Ross Dance Company, for which he created dances such as Totem and Vanya: Three Pastels. After Graham’s death, he re-created several of her pieces for the Graham company.
He also took on a few acting roles. In 1961, he appeared as the character Haman in an episode titled Esther on the Lamp Unto My Feet TV series. In 1962, he performed in one episode, Splendour in the Rice, on the Canadian comedy series The Wayne and Shuster Hour. In the Amy Greenfield film Antigone/Rites of Passion, he performed the dual roles of Oedipus and Creon.
In 1973, he made his debut as a singer, when he jokingly performed with Wallowitch at the 10th anniversary of The Ballroom. Ross sang a comic Irving Berlin number Cohen Owes Me $97, which he intoned in the thick Yiddish accent for which Berlin had written it. Audience response was so overwhelming, the club's owner suggested the pair form a duo.
In 1984, Ross and Wallowitch began performing the two-man cabaret act, which included lesser-known songs by Rodgers and Hart, Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen, combined with Wallowitch's musical parodies. They launched the routine at The Ballroom, then took it on the road across the U.S. and to London, where they appeared at Pizza on the Park, the venerable (now-closed) jazz venue. Not long before Ross' death, November 2002, the pair appeared at Danny's Skylight Room in Manhattan.
Ross made no secret of his homosexuality. He met Wallowitch through mutual friends in the arts community; both were already familiar with each other's work. They lived together for more than 35 years. Ross died from pneumonia on April 20, 2003. He had also suffered from Parkinson's disease in later years. Ross is buried beside Wallowitch, who died in 2007, at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.
1939 – Wendy Carlos, American composer, born; A composer and electronic musician, Carlos is one of the first famous performers of electronic music using synthesizers, most famously, Switched On Bach and The Well-Tempered Synthesizer.
Born Walter Carlos, in 1972, Carlos underwent gender reassignment surgery. The last release to be credited to her as Walter Carlos was By Request (1975). The first release credited to her as Wendy Carlos was Switched-On Brandenburgs (1979).
Carlos' first public appearance after her gender transition was in an interview in the May 1979 issue of Playboy magazine. In it, she states "I was about five or six...I remember being convinced I was a little girl, much preferring long hair and girls clothes, and not knowing why my parents didn't see it clearly". Carlos chose to be interviewed in Playboy because "The magazine has always been concerned with liberation, and I'm anxious to liberate myself", but she later came to regret the decision because of the unwelcome publicity it brought to her personal life.
On her official site, her transition is discussed in an essay stating that she values her privacy on the subject. Carlos composed and recorded music for the soundtrack of the film A Clockwork Orange. She worked with Stanley Kubrick again on the score for The Shining, although in the end, Kubrick used mostly pre-existing music cues from other composers. In 1982, she scored the theatrical film Tron for Disney.
1942 – Germany: The Nazi SS (storm troops) informs concentration camp commandants that they are free to sterilize any of the prisoners under their control. The directive gives official approval to the practice, already instituted in some camps, of castrating males suspected of sexual attraction to other men.
Stefano Gabbana (front) & Domenico Dolce
1962 – Born: Stefano Gabbana, co-founder of the Dolce and Gabbana fashion house, known for their sexy, glamorous women's clothing and sharp men's tailoring, all of which embody a distinctively southern Italian feel. Domenico Dolce's native island of Sicily, a place Gabbana had fallen in love with on holiday, became the bond between the two when they met in the early 1980s, when they worked for the same design studio in Milan.
Stefano Gabbana was born in Milan on November 14, 1962. Initially he went to art school to study graphics but soon transferred to fashion. In 1982 the two men left the design company where they were working when they met to pursue separate consulting careers, but they continued to share an office as well as a private life. After eighteen months, they decided to join forces and the Dolce & Gabbana label was born.
For some 19 years, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were partners in life as well as in business. Their personal relationship, which commenced soon after their meeting in the early 1980s, was well documented and they spoke freely about their home life as well as their business partnership in interviews.
Their clothes for men mix the same key elements of sexiness and traditional detail as do their womenswear collections. Just as they put women in "men's clothes," so they mix traditionally masculine elements such as the white singlet (much loved and worn by gay men in the summer of 1995) and pin-striped suits with overtly feminine designs in bright colors.
"It has nothing to do with sexuality or being gay," Dolce told The Guardian Weekend magazine, "It's just that we all have this side ... It's today's society that has made men and women so different. It's good to search inside and discover this small part of the other sex which is inside you."
Dolce & Gabbana's clothes are worn by a whole host of celebrities: Tom Cruise, Brian Ferry, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Isabella Rossellini, Demi Moore, and Nicole Kidman, to name but a few. They are known for donating clothes to and designing for stars they like. To those they do not like, they say "there is a shop."
By far their favorite celebrity is Madonna. "We love Madonna, so anything she asks we say yes, because we love the person, the style, the music--everything." Their admiration for Madonna is fully reciprocated. She is a very big fan of the duo, who are known in America as "the Italian designers"; she acknowledged their place in Italian culture when she stated "Now that Fellini, Rossellini, Pasolini and Visconti are gone, all we have is Dolce & Gabbana's neorealistic fashion."
In February 2005 Dolce and Gabbana broke up as lovers. According to Gabbana, they "had been drifting apart for about five years" prior to the split. The two remain friends and are still working together. Both say that they are committed to the ongoing success of their fashion house and that they plan to remain partners in the business even though they are no longer together as a couple.
1980 – Brock Pierce, born in Minnesota, is an American actor best known for playing the title role in the Disney's First Kid. Pierce's first major acting role was playing a young Emilio Estevez in The Mighty Ducks. Pierce reprised the role again in D2: The Mighty Ducks. In 1994, Pierce had a small role in Little Big League, but did not receive his next big break until 1996, starring alongside Sinbad as Luke Davenport in Disney's First Kid. Brock landed a few TV roles in 1997, but they would be his last credited performances.
Pierce retired from acting in favor of producing, producing a show for gay teenagers called Chad's World. Pierce has hinted at his own bisexuality in an interview with Oasis Magazine, an online homosexual interest magazine: "I'm not, at the moment, seeing anyone, so whether it's a girl or a guy… I don't want to eliminate myself from seeing anyone, because I like all people."
Pierce began enjoying a lavish lifestyle in Los Angeles riding the Dot-com bubble with the Digital Entertainment Network. As an 18 year old, Pierce was making $250,000 a year and held 1% of the company's shares. After the collapse of the Digital Entertainment Network, Pierce fled the U.S. with co-founders Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Schackley after a number of former underaged DEN employees accused the three of sexual abuse, drugging them, and making violent threats. They were later dubbed by the New York Post as the "dot-com perverts." The three were arrested by Spanish police before being returned to the U.S. to face charges of transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts. Only Collins-Rector was charged.
Pierce is now a major shareholder in IGE, a well-known MMORPG gold-selling company, as well as the chairman of Affinity Media , a company which owns a variety of MMORPG-oriented websites, including Thottbot, IGE, Allakhazam, and OGaming.
1981 – Russell Tovey is an English actor with numerous television, film and stage credits. Tovey is known for playing the role of werewolf George Sands in the BBC's supernatural drama Being Human which started in 2008. In November 2011, Tovey announced he would be leaving Being Human to work full-time on his BBC Three sitcom, Him & Her. Tovey is also known for his portrayal of the character of Rudge in both the original London and Broadway stage version, and later the film, of The History Boys.
Tovey is gay. He says he came out to himself when he was 15 or 16, and to his parents when he was 18. Tovey and his father had a falling out over Tovey's homosexuality, and his father suggested that, had he known earlier, he would have asked Tovey to take hormones or undergo some other medical treatment to "fix the problem". Tovey says his parents were deeply concerned about the possibility he might contract HIV, which may have contributed to the falling out. The birth of Tovey's nephew in 2005 helped them mend their relationship.
In an interview with The Scotsman, Tovey said,
"The only thing I can give to young gay people is that when I was growing up there were no role models that were blokey, that were men. Everybody was flamboyant and camp, and I remember going, 'That's not me, so even though I think I am gay, I don't think I fit into this world.'"
1986 – Andy Herren is an American part-time adjunct professor of public speaking, most notable for winning the fifteenth season of the American reality television show Big Brother 15 (U.S.) in 2013. He is also the first openly gay winner in the show's history.
Andy won Big Brother 15 by a vote of 7-2 on finale night, only not receiving votes from Aaryn and Judd, becoming the first openly gay houseguest to win Big Brother.
1994 – China determines that same-sex acts are no longer to be considered a "social order" offense.
2001 – Egypt. 21 homosexuals arrested on the Nile "The Queen Boat" in Cairo, are convicted of "habitual practice of debauchery," 1 for "contempt of religion," and 1 for both. A 53rd man, a teenager, is tried in juvenile court and sentenced to 3 years prison and 3 years probation.
2008 – Transgender woman woman Lateisha Green is shot and killed outside a house party in Syracuse, NY Her murderer is sentenced to 25 years for first degree manslaughter. This is the first transgender hate crimes conviction in NY and only the second in the US.