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

November 17

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 Andrea Doria as Neptune (Click for larger)

1503Agnolo Bronzino (d.1572) was one of the leading painters of the Florentine School in mid-sixteenth-century Italy. He eventually became court painter to Cosimo de Medici. Born in Monticelli in 1503, Bronzino studied with mannerist painter and portraitist Jacopo Pontormo (1494-1557).

Most scholars conclude, based on a series of sonnets Bronzino wrote upon Pontormo's death, that the two men enjoyed a more intimate relationship than that of master and pupil. Later in his life, in 1552, Bronzino also adopted one of his own pupils, Alessandro Allori (1535-1607), as his son. In sixteenth-century Florence, this type of arrangement often signaled a sexual relationship between two men; an older man adopting his younger lover was quite common. The two artists lived together until Bronzino's death in 1572.

Famous mainly for his portraits, Bronzino also painted biblical and mythological scenes, designed tapestries and frescos, and composed poetry. While some of Bronzino's poetry consists of rather conventional lyric verse, as well as the sonnets upon Pontormo's death, he also wrote a considerable body of burlesque verse. Often obscene and erotic, burlesque verse circulated among Florentine intellectual and aristocratic circles, whose members would have detected obscure allusions and subtexts beneath the bawdy wordplay. Bronzino's burlesque poetry is distinguished by its large number of homoerotic references and allusions.

Cosimo I de' Medici as St. Sebastian
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There is an undeniable homoerotic subtext to several of Bronzino's famous portraits, including Andrea Doria as Neptune (ca 1545) and Cosimo I de' Medici as St. Sebastian (ca 1538-1540).

In both his writing and painting, Bronzino contributes significant insights into same-sex desire and relationships in sixteenth-century Florentine society.

1715North Carolina adopts all laws of England, making the buggery statute operative.


1851 – Major Lord Henry Arthur Somerset (d.1926) was the third son of the 8th Duke of Beaufort and his wife, the former Lady Georgiana Curzon. He was head of the stables of the future King Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) and a Major in the Royal Horse Guards.

He was linked with the Cleveland Street scandal, wherein he was identified and named by several male prostitutes as a customer of their services. He was interviewed by police on 7 August 1889; although the record of the interview has not survived, it resulted in a report being made by the Attorney-General, Solicitor-General and Director of Prosecutions urging that proceedings should be taken against him under section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. A piece of paper was pasted over Somerset's name in the report, as it was deemed so sensitive.

However, the Director was told that the Home Secretary wished him to take no action for the moment. The police obtained a further statement implicating Somerset, while Somerset arranged for his solicitor to act in the defence of the boys arrested over the scandal. After the police saw him for a second time on 22 August, Somerset obtained leave from his regiment and permission to go abroad.

Lord Arthur went to Homburg, although he returned to England. When tipped off in September that charges were imminent, he fled to France to avoid them. From there he travelled through Constantinople, Budapest, Vienna, and then back to France, where he settled and died in 1926, aged 74.


1854Louis-Hubert Lyautey (d.1934) was a French Army general and colonial administrator. After serving in Indochina and Madagascar, he became the first French Resident-General in Morocco from 1912 to 1925. Early in 1917 he served briefly as Minister of War. From 1921 he was a Marshal of France. He was dubbed the Maker of Morocco and the French empire builder, and in 1931 made the cover of Time.

Lyautey was born in Nancy, capital of Lorraine. His father was a prosperous engineer, his grandfather a highly decorated Napoleonic general. His mother was a Norman aristocrat, and Lyautey inherited many of her assumptions: monarchism, patriotism, Catholicism and belief in the moral and political importance of the elite.

As Resident-General of Morocco from 1912 he was publicly deferential to the sultan and told his men not to treat the Moroccans as a conquered people. It was he who governed Morocco for the French, developed its economy, extended its borders, and pacified native resistance. During WWI, even with diminished troops, Lyautey maintained an iron rule over this French protectorate.

During his administration, inadvertently, perhaps, Morocco became a place of refuge for homosexuals from all over Europe who came to sample the delights of the native population. Lyautey is one of the many real life homosexuals who people Roger Peyrefitte’s novel, The Exile of Capri.


1887 – Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC (d.1976). Often referred to as "Monty", he was an Anglo-Irish British Army officer who successfully commanded Allied forces at the Battle of El Alamein, a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign during World War II, and troops under his command played a major role in the expulsion of Axis forces from North Africa. He was later a prominent commander in Italy and North-West Europe, where he was in command of all Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord until after the Battle of Normandy.

After retirement the outspoken views of the best known general of the Second World War became public and his reputation suffered. He supported apartheid and Chinese communism under Mao Zedong, and spoke against the legalisation of homosexuality in the United Kingdom, arguing that the Sexual Offences Act 1967 was a "charter for buggery" and that "this sort of thing may be tolerated by the French, but we're British - thank God."

However, several of Montgomery's biographers, including Chalfont (who found something "disturbingly equivocal" in "his relations with boys and young men" and Nigel Hamilton have suggested that he may himself have been a repressed homosexual, that he had a "predilection for the company of young men" and enjoyed platonic love affairs; in the late 1940s he conducted an affectionate friendship with a 12-year-old Swiss boy. One biographer called the friendship "bizarre" although not "improper" and a sign of "pitiful loneliness."


1889 – The New York Times published a report on the "Cleveland Street Scandal," a case involving a house of male prostitutes and members of British nobility.

The Cleveland Street scandal occurred when a homosexual male brothel in Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, London, was discovered by police. At the time, sexual acts between men were illegal in Britain, and the brothel's clients faced possible prosecution and certain social ostracism if discovered. It was rumoured that one of the brothel's clients was Prince Albert Victor, who was the eldest son of the Prince of Wales and second-in-line to the British throne. The government was accused of covering up the scandal to protect the names of any aristocratic patrons.

(Cick for larger)

One of the clients, Lord Arthur Somerset, was an equerry to the Prince of Wales. He and the brothel keeper, Charles Hammond, managed to flee abroad before a prosecution could be brought. The male prostitutes, who also worked as telegraph messenger boys for the Post Office, were given light sentences and no clients were prosecuted. After Henry James FitzRoy, Earl of Euston, was named in the press as a client, he successfully sued for libel. The British press never named Prince Albert Victor, and there is no evidence he ever visited the brothel, but his inclusion in the rumours has coloured biographers' perceptions of him since.

The scandal fuelled the attitude that male homosexuality was an aristocratic vice that corrupted lower-class youths. Such perceptions were still prevalent in 1895 when the Marquess of Queensberry accused Oscar Wilde of being an active homosexual. Wilde sued Queensberry for libel but his case collapsed. He was arrested, found guilty of indecency, and condemned to two years' hard labour.


1925Rock Hudson (d.1985) was a popular American film and television actor, noted for his stunning looks and most remembered as a romantic leading man during the 1950s and 1960s. Hudson was voted Star of the Year, Favorite Leading Man, or any number of similar titles by countless movie magazines, and was unquestionably one of the most popular and well-known movie stars of the time. He completed nearly seventy motion pictures and starred in several television productions during a career that spanned over three decades.

Hudson was born Leroy Harold Scherer Jr. in Winnetka, Illinois, the son of a telephone operator, and an auto mechanic who abandoned the family during the depths of the Great Depression, in the early 1930s. His mother remarried and his stepfather adopted him, changing his last name to Fitzgerald.

After graduating from high school, he served in the Philippines as an aircraft mechanic for the Navy during WW II. In 1946 he moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and applied to the University of Southern California's dramatics program, but was rejected due to poor grades. Among a number of odd jobs, he worked as a truck driver for a couple of years to support himself, longing to be an actor but with no success in breaking into the movies. A fortunate meeting with powerful - and gay - Hollywood talent scout Henry Willson in 1948 got Hudson his start in the business - and Willson renamed him "Rock Hudson."

Neither a gifted nor a natural actor, he was neverthless blessed with enormous charm and with time proved to have a flair for comedy and was capable of strong and memorable performances in drama. He was coached in acting, singing, dancing, fencing and horsebackriding, and he began to feature in film magazines where he was promoted on the basis of his good looks. Success and recognition came in 1954 with Magnificent Obsession in which Hudson plays a bad boy who is redeemed. The film received rave reviews, with Modern Screen Magazine citing Hudson as the most popular actor of the year.

Hudson's popularity soared in George Stevens' Giant, based on Edna Ferber's novel. Co-starring Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean, and as a result of their powerful performances both Hudson and Dean were nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars.

Following Richard Brook's notable Something of Value in 1957 and a moving performance in Charles Vidor's A Farewell to Arms, based on Ernest Hemingway's novel, Hudson sailed through the 1960s on a cloud of romantic comedies. He portrayed humorous characters in Pillow Talk, the first of several profitable co-starring gigs with Doris Day; followed by Come September; Send Me No Flowers; Man's Favourite Sport, with Paula Prentiss, and Strange Bedfellows, with Gina Lollobrigida.

His popularity on the big screen diminished in the 1970s. He performed in a 13-city US tour of the musical Camelot. He was quite successful on television starring in a number of made-for-TV movies. His most successful series was McMillan and Wife opposite Susan Saint James from 1971 to 1977.

Following years of heavy drinking and smoking, by the early 1980s, Hudson began having health problems. Heart bypass surgery sidelined Hudson and his then-new TV show, The Devlin Connection, for a year; the show suffered for the delay and was cancelled not long after it returned to the airwaves. He recovered from the surgery, but a couple of years later Hudson's health had visibly deteriorated again, prompting different rumours.

In 1984 and 1985 Hudson landed a recurring role in Dynasty. While his inability to memorise dialogue was the stuff of legend, now he was exhibiting all the signs of a man in serious trouble. The need for cue cards was one thing, but when his speech began to deteriorate, everybody knew the least of Hudson's problems was simple forgetfulness. The word cancer was tossed around, but the phrase 'gay cancer' was not mentioned- not, at least, by those who had something to lose. Not yet.

While Hudson's career was blooming, he was struggling to keep his personal life out of the headlines, although the Hollywood media was complicit in concealing his homosexuality from the general public. Throughout his career, he epitomised an ideal of wholesome manliness, and in 1955 he wed Willson's secretary at the time, Phyllis Gates, and the news was made known by all the major gossip magazines. The union lasted three years. Gates filed for divorce in April 1958, charging mental cruelty; Hudson did not contest the divorce. Loyal friends and the now-unimaginable support of the media kept Hudson successfully in the closet to all but those 'in the know' until the 1980s.

According to the 1986 biography Rock Hudson: His Story by Hudson and Sara Davidson, Hudson was good friends with American novelist Armistead Maupin, and Hudson's lovers included: Jack Coates (born 1944); Hollywood publicist Tom Clark (1933-1995), who also later published a memoir about Hudson, Rock Hudson: Friend of Mine; and Marc Christian, who later won a palimony suit against the Hudson estate. In addition, Darwin Porter's book, Brando Unzipped (2006) claims that Hudson had an affair with Brando. Hudson was also a close friend of Burt Lancaster, who was reportedly bisexual, and Lancaster's FBI file suggested the two stars had attended Gay parties in Hollywood together.

An urban legend states that Hudson married Jim Nabors in the 1970s. In fact the two were never more than friends. According to Hudson, the legend originated with a group of "middle-aged homosexuals who live in Huntington Beach" who sent out joke invitations for their annual get-together. One year, the group invited its members to witness "the marriage of Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors", at which Hudson would take the surname of Nabors's most famous character, Gomer Pyle, becoming "Rock Pyle". Those who failed to get the joke spread the rumor. As a result, Nabors and Hudson never spoke to each other again.

In 1985, Hudson joined his old friend Doris Day for the launch of her new cable show, Doris Day's Best Friends. His shockingly gaunt appearance, and his nearly-incoherent speech, was so shocking that it was broadcast again all over the national news shows that night and for weeks to come. Doris Day herself stared at him throughout their appearance together.

Hudson was diagnosed with HIV on June 5, 1984, but when the signs of illness became apparent, his publicity staff and doctors told the public that he had liver cancer. It was not until July 25, 1985, while in Paris for treatment, that Hudson issued a press release announcing that he was dying of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. This had an enormous impact as he was the not only the first major celebrity to come out with the disease but because most of his army of fans still had no idea that Rock Hudson was gay.

Shortly before his death Hudson stated, 'I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth.' Hudson's death is said to have pushed his long time friend and then Republican President Ronald Reagan to change his tune on efforts to fight and publicise the epidemic. Rock Hudson's death from AIDS was a highly significant and tragic milestone in bringing the disease to a wider public consciousness.

Rock Hudson was cremated and his ashes buried at sea.

1928 – The New York Times reported that a London judge found the lesbian novel "The Well of Loneliness" obscene and ordered all seized copies of it destroyed.


1960RuPaul Charles, best known as simply RuPaul, is an American actor, drag queen, model, author, and singer-songwriter, who first became widely known in the 1990s when he appeared in a wide variety of television programs, films, and musical albums. Previously, he was a fixture on the Atlanta and New York City club scenes during the 1980s and early 90s. RuPaul has on occasion performed as a man in a number of roles, usually billed as RuPaul Charles. RuPaul is noted among famous drag queens for his indifference towards the gender-specific pronouns used to address him—both "he" and "she" have been deemed acceptable. "You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don't care! Just as long as you call me." He hosted a short-running talk show on VH1, and currently hosts reality television shows called RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul's Drag U.

RuPaul was born in San Diego, California. His name was given to him by his mother, a Louisiana native. The Ru came from roux, an ingredient used in gumbo. RuPaul struggled as a musician and filmmaker in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1980s. He participated in underground cinema, helping create the low-budget film Starrbooty, and an album by the same name. In Atlanta, RuPaul often performed at the Celebrity Club (managed by Larry Tee) as a bar dancer or with his band, Wee Wee Pole, which included the late Todd Butler.

In the early 1990s, RuPaul worked the Georgia club scene and was known by his full birth name. Initially participating in genderfuck-style performances, RuPaul performed solo and in collaboration with other bands at several New York nightclubs, most notably the Pyramid Club. He appeared for many years at the annual Wigstock drag festival and appeared in the documentary Wigstock: The Movie. In the '90s, RuPaul was known in the UK for his appearances on the Channel 4 series Manhattan Cable, a weekly series produced by World of Wonder and presented by American Laurie Pike about New York's wild and wacky public-access television system.

RuPaul is credited with the statement "We're born naked, and the rest is all drag."

1971 – A group of sex researchers looking for physical differences between homosexual and heterosexual men announce erroneous findings that heterosexuals have 40% more testosterone in their blood than homosexuals do.


1972 – Murdered: Barbara Baekeland (b.1922) was a wealthy socialite who was murdered by her son, Antony Baekeland. She was the wife of Brooks Baekeland, who was the grandson of Leo Baekeland, inventor of Bakelite plastic.

She was murdered at her London home. Antony stabbed her with a kitchen knife, killing her almost instantly. When the police arrived, they found Antony, who was 25 years old at the time, ordering Chinese food over the phone. He later confessed and was charged with murder.

Before meeting Brooks Baekeland, Barbara was a model and would-be Hollywood starlet; she had a screen test in Hollywood with the actor Dana Andrews. During their marriage, she was known for her unstable personality, rude outbursts and bouts of severe depression; she also drank heavily and had many affairs. Her husband eventually left her for a younger woman, Sylvie (who some said had first been Antony's girlfriend), which was followed by divorce. This led to severe depression and a suicide attempt (her friend Gloria Jones, wife of author James Jones, saved her).

Baekeland had a complex and allegedly incestuous relationship with her gay son, Antony. Baekeland attempted to "fix" her son by having prostitutes take him to bed; after this failed, Baekeland was alleged to have manipulated or coerced her son into having sex with her. Though Antony displayed signs of schizophrenia with paranoid tendencies, his father refused to allow him to be treated by psychiatrists, a profession he believed to be "amoral". Her son's erratic behavior caused concern among family friends, and over the years, the two had several threatening arguments involving knives.

After the murder, Antony was institutionalized at Broadmoor Hospital until, at the urging of a group of his friends, he was released on July 21, 1980. He relocated to New York City to live with his grandmother, stabbing but not killing her less than a week later. He was sent to Rikers Island and was suffocated with a plastic bag on March 20, 1981; it is unknown whether his death was a suicide or murder.

The first Baekeland murder was made into the 2007 film Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane, and Eddie Redmayne. It was based on the book of the same name.

After the film opened, Barbara Baekeland's former lover, Sam Green, wrote an article pointing out elements in the film possibly misleading for those trying to read back to the reality inspiring it. Referring in particular to the scene of Barbara, her son Antony, and Sam in bed together having sex, he wrote, "it is true that almost 40 years ago I did have an affair with Barbara, but I certainly never slept with her son...Nor am I bisexual." He went on to give his opinion that "she started telling people she had had an incestuous relationship with her son as a way of 'curing' him of homosexuality... But I don't believe she had sex with Tony. I think she simply enjoyed shocking people."

1979Vancouver Sun reverses course and accepts an ad from Gay Tide after a five-year court battle. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Sun had "reasonable cause" to refuse advertising. The first ad was submitted to the Sun on October 23, 1974.

1985 – In New York City, more than 700 people concerned about negative publicity surrounding AIDS, bathhouses, and gay promiscuity attend a town meeting that leads to the founding of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Formed in New York City in 1985 to protest against what it saw as the New York Post‘s defamatory and sensationalized AIDS coverage, GLAAD put pressure on media organizations to end what it saw as homophobic reporting. Initial meetings were held in the homes of several New York City activists as well as after-hours at the New York State Council on the Arts.

1999Methodist minister Jimmy Creech was stripped of his clerical status for presiding over a same-sex holy union.

2001 – Died: Aaron Webster (b. 1959), who was a gay man living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and who was beaten by a group of men close to a gay cruising area in a woody part of Stanley Park near Second Beach. According to reports, the youths came across a nearly-naked Webster and chased him to a parking area where they beat him to death with baseball bats.

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Rock Hudson - A Personal Encounter:

By Ted

Back in 1966, on my way to Canada, I had a brief brush with Rock Hudson.

I came to North America by ship from Fremantle, Australia, via the far east, and on the leg from Japan to North America, my friends and I, all travelling second-class, met up with a wealthy American travelling in first class. My friends were a couple of lesbian Australian nurses, and Joe, my cabin-mate, a straight Swiss guy. We were all about 25 at the time. The wealthy American, Lloyd, was a short chubby guy in his sixties. In retrospect, I think he looked a lot like Artie Johnson. He was very ostentatious, and seemed to have a never-ending wardrobe of clothes and of jewellry— neck-chains, rings, bracelets, and watches. He claimed to be a millionaire, and Pat Boone's boyfriend. The very idea was rather shocking to us small-town folk. The way he told it, he had been to Japan for Pat Boone's tour there, but Lloyd hated flying, so was travelling by ship instead while Pat flew home. At the time, Pat Boone was separated from his wife, and had not yet become "born again."

The reason Lloyd was associating with us obvious, though unstated — my cabin-mate Joe was a hottie! He was also absolutely straight, but Lloyd hoped to change that. He would buy us drinks to get us to leave him alone with Joe. He even gave the girls some expensive jewellry to get rid of them. He never really got anywhere with Joe, however.

Anyway, our landfall was in San Pedro, south of Los Angeles, before sailing north to San Francisco and Vancouver. When the American - from L.A. - was leaving ship, he invited us the a "welcome-home" party the next night. He said he would send a car for us. We never really thought he would do it, but the next evening we got a message from the purser's office that a car would be waiting for us at the foot of the gangplank at 8:00 that night. Sure enough, there was not just a car, but a limosine waiting for us. Imagine four young people from the boonies riding in a limousine into one of the poshest areas of Los Angeles (I'm not sure if it was Beverly Hills, or Hollywood Hills, but it was very posh and in the hills on the outskirts of LA)!

I'm not really sure who the "welcome home" was for — Lloyd or Pat Boone. If it was for Boone, he never showed at the party, at least while we were there. Nor was I sure just whose home it was held at. All I remember was that it was a huge ranch-style with an immense patio and pool at the rear. It was around this pool that the party was being held, on a warm, late-June evening. I got the impression that the house was not Lloyd's, although he treated it as if it were. I think it actually belonged to Robert Wagner or Natalie Wood, both of whom were present, although they were not married to each other at the time. They were actually between marriages to each other.

Lloyd greeted us then left the girls and I at the pool to fend for ourselves, while he hustled Joe off to the interior of the house - probably to a bedroom. There were maybe 60 people at the party when we arrived around nine pm. Most of them were males, mostly has-been movie or tv actors or wanna-be's and agents. I really don't remember most of them. I do recall Mickey Rooney being present. I remember him as a nasty little man who was absolutely rude to almost everyone, even though people were trying their hardest to be nice to him, because his estranged wife had been murdered earlier that year. It completely destoyed my pleasant memories of him as Andy Hardy on The Hardy Family radio show of my childhood.

Most of the guests were rather condescending to us small-town hicks with out "adorable accents." I remember Peter Graves (who had starred in a Australian TV "western" a few years before) being particularly snide - maybe because his Aussie western was a major flop.

This was where I had my brief brush with Rock Hudson. He arrived later than us, and made his way round the pool saying hi to everyone, including the girls and I. Unlike many of the guests he was really pleasant to us. After chatting to us for a couple of minutes he moved on, with another tall, fairly good-looking man in tow. One of the other guests told us that the second man was Rock Hudson's boyfriend. He mentioned the man's name, but I didn't recognize the name then, and don't remember it now. It may have been Jim Nabors, but I really don't know.

Around eleven pm, the party got nasty when a fight broke out. I don't know who started it or what it was about, but I know it somehow involved Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. Someone ended up in the pool fully-dressed. Someone else got a bloody nose. A table of glasses got smashed, and so did a sliding glass door, and someone got badly cut. An ambulance was called and so were the police.

At about the same time, Joe and Lloyd emerged from the house, both looking rather pissed off. Lloyd rather brusquely informed the four of us: "The police are on the way. You'd better go!" He promptly left us standing there, having made no offer of a ride back to the ship or anything. We made our way to the front of the house, rather obviously at a loss. Someone who was leaving at that time offered us a ride back to Los Angeles, which we gladly accepted, because a taxi back to the ship would have been beyond our means, and a couple of squad cars were just arriving.

So, our night of glamour turned into a long wait at the seedy downtown L.A. bus depot, a long ride back to San Pedro on the last bus of the night, and a long walk from the San Pedro drop-off to the ship, past all the little late-night bars with drunk chicanos whistling at the girls – and me and Joe.

Joe never did talk about what happened with Lloyd, but from Lloyd's reaction I presume Lloyd never managed to get into Joe's pants — but then, neither did I, and I spent 9 weeks, on and off ship, trying!


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