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 25

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1803 – On this date Ralph Waldo Emerson the poet and essayist was born (d.1882).

Emerson had a wild crush on a classmate at Harvard, about whom he wrote sexually charged poetry. Martin Gay, the subject of Emerson's growing infatuation, was the subject of numerous entries in Emerson's journals which modern editors have been able to reconstruct. As the scholar Martin Greif has written, "they provide a rare view of the future philosopher in the thrall of same-sex love." With an unembarrassed frankness he wrote in his journal about the disturbing power of the glances he and Gay exchanged. Emerson wrote of Martin Gay in his notebook, "Why do you look after me? I cannot help looking out as you pass." Emerson heavily crossed out the Martin Gay journal notes at some later time.

He would later tell Walt Whitman to cross out the homoerotic portions of the Calamus cluster of poems in Leaves of Grass. Fortunately for us and for posterity Whitman did not take the "advice." In Emerson's mature life "his craving for friendship and love seldom found adequate satisfaction," as his biographer Stephen Whicher put it.


1869 – (Robert Baldwin) Robbie Ross (d.1918) was a Canadian journalist and art critic. He is best known as the executor of the estate of Oscar Wilde, to whom he had been a lifelong friend. He was also responsible for bringing together several great literary figures, such as Siegfried Sassoon, and acting as their mentor. His open homosexuality in a time when homosexual acts were illegal brought him many hardships.

Ross was born in Tours, France. His father John Ross, though born in Ireland, spent most of his life in Upper Canada, where he became a lawyer and attorney-general in 1853 and was president of the Grand Trunk Railway from 1853 to 1862. His mother, Augusta Elizabeth Baldwin, was the daughter of Canadian Deputy Premier Robert Baldwin.

As a young man, Ross moved to England to go to university. He was accepted at King's College, Cambridge in 1888, but was the victim of bullying, probably due to his sexuality (of which he made no secret), and his perhaps outspoken journalism in the university paper. Ross caught pneumonia after a dunking in a fountain by a number of students with, according to Ross, the full support of a don. After recovering, he fought for an apology from his fellow students, which he received, but more fiercely, for the dismissal of the don who, he argued, had known about and supported the bullying. The college refused to punish the man and Ross dropped out of university. Soon after this event, Ross decided to 'come out' to his family, a serious matter in the 1880s. He gathered them to hear the announcement not long after he left university.

As a young Londoner, Ross is alleged to have been Oscar Wilde's first male lover. Ross found work as a journalist and critic, but he did not escape scandal. A few years before Wilde's imprisonment for homosexuality, Ross had a sexual relationship with a boy of fourteen, the son of friends, and the boy's best friend, aged fifteen. Both boys confessed to their parents that they had engaged in sexual activity with Ross, and the fourteen-year-old boy also admitted to a sexual encounter with Lord Alfred Douglas while he was a guest at Ross's house. After a good deal of panic and frantic meetings with solicitors, the parents were persuaded not to go to the police, since, at that time, their sons might be seen not as victims but as equally guilty and so face the possibility of going to prison.

In 1895 Oscar Wilde, Lord Alfred Douglas and Ross approached solicitor Charles Octavius Humphreys with the intention of suing the Marquess of Queensberry, Douglas' father, for criminal libel. Humphreys asked Wilde directly whether there was any truth to Queensberry's allegations of homosexual activity between Wilde and Douglas, to which Wilde replied in the negative. The suit went to the courts, and Wilde incriminated himself.

Following Wilde's disgrace and imprisonment in 1895, Ross went abroad for safety's sake, but he returned to offer both financial and emotional support to Wilde during his last years. Ross remained loyal to Wilde and was with him when he died on 30 November 1900.

Ross became his mentor's literary executor. This was not an easy task. It meant tracking down and purchasing the rights to all of Wilde's texts, which had been sold off along with all of Wilde's possessions when the playwright was declared bankrupt. In 1908, some years after Wilde's death, Ross produced the definitive edition of his works. Ross was also responsible for commissioning Jacob Epstein to produce the tomb for Wilde. He even requested that Epstein design a small compartment into the tomb for Ross's own ashes.

As a result of his faithfulness to Wilde even in death, Ross was vindictively pursued by Lord Alfred Douglas, who repeatedly attempted to have him arrested and tried for homosexual conduct. During the First World War, Ross mentored a group of young, mostly same-sex-oriented poets and artists, including Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. He was also a close friend of Wilde's son Vyvyan Holland, and a friend of his other son Cyril until his death in the First World War.

In early 1918, during the German Spring Offensive, a right-wing Member of Parliament, published an article entitled The Cult of the Clitoris, in which he accused members of Ross's circle of being at the centre of 47,000 homosexual traitors who were betraying the nation to the Germans. Maud Allan, an actress who had played Wilde's Salome in a performance authorised by Ross, was identified as a member of the "cult". She unsuccessfully sued for libel, causing a national sensation in Britain. The incident brought much embarrassing attention to Ross and his associates.

Later in the same year, Ross was preparing to travel to Melbourne, Australia to open an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria when he died suddenly. In 1950, on the 50th anniversary of Wilde's death, Ross's ashes were added to Wilde's tomb in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

1895 – On this date the Irish playwright and poet Oscar Wilde was convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years of hard labor.

1900Henri Châtin Hofmann (d.1961) was an American dancer.

Hofmann was one of the four children and the only son of German-American pastor of Zion Church Julius Hofmann (1865-1928) and his wife Adele, nee Châtin. At his confirmation in 1915, he insisted to change his name and took the maiden name of his mother as a middle name.

In the 1920s, he went to Berlin. Here in 1924 he married (a "lavender" marriage since Hofmann was gay) dancer Anita Berber. He was her third husband. In Berlin, they caused a stir with a completely naked live dance performance in a screening of Dante's “Divine Comedy” at the Capitol-Lichtspielhaus.

Together the couple took tours overshadowed by scandals, with their program of erotic and ecstasy dances until Anita Berber, in 1928, collapsed in Damascus and died four months later in Berlin. Klaus Mann empatheticly described the couple in his obituary of Anita Berber in the magazine " The Stage " (1930).

In 1930s he married Helena Shelda. The two performed together in the Tanz der Schlangenbeschwörer (Snake Charmer Dance). In 1941, Henri returned to the US and tried his own career as a creative dancer.

For many years he spent time as a patient in Spring Grove, a State Hospital in Baltimore, where he died.


1913 Donald Maclean was a career British diplomat turned Soviet intelligence agent (d.1983). Maclean was one of the Cambridge Five, members of MI5, MI6 or the diplomatic service who acted as spies for the Soviet Union during WWII and in the early-Cold War era. His actions are widely thought to have contributed to the 1948 Soviet blockade of Berlin and the onset of the Korean War. As a reward for his espionage activities, Maclean was brevetted a colonel in the Soviet KGB.

He was the son of the Liberal politician Sir Donald Maclean, who was Leader of the parliamentary Opposition in the years following WWI. Maclean won a place at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, arriving in 1931 to study modern languages. While there, he joined the Communist Party. In his second year at Cambridge, his father died, and in his last year he was recruited into Soviet intelligence by Anthony Blunt, ultimately becoming one of the Cambridge Five.

All of the Cambridge Five came from privileged backgrounds, and two of the others, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt, were known to be homosexuals. It is sometimes stated that Maclean was, too, and Guy Burgess claimed to have seduced him, but it seems more likely that he was bisexual.

From 1944 to 1948 he served as Secretary at the British Embassy and, later, Secretary of the Combined Policy Committee on Atomic Development in Washigton. For the Soviets, this was his most fruitful period, and he was Stalin's main source of information about communications and policy development between Churchill and Roosevelt, and then between Churchill or Clement Attlee and Harry S. Truman.

Armed with information from Maclean, Stalin was able to conclude that the United States did not possess a sufficiently large stock of atomic weapons or bomb production capacity to attack the Soviet Union or its allies in either Europe or the Pacific in the near future. This knowledge played a central role in Stalin's decision to institute a blockade of Berlin in 1948, as well as his decision to extensively arm and train Kim Il Sung's North Korean army for an offensive war (a conflict that would later claim the lives of over 30,000 U.S. and Allied troops).

With detection and arresnt imminent, Burgess and Maclean fled to the coast, boarded a ship to France, and disappeared, reappearing later in the Soviet Union. Maclean, unlike the self-indulgent Burgess, assimilated into the Soviet Union and became a respected citizen, learning Russian and serving as a specialist on the economic policy of the West and British foreign affairs. Maclean died of a heart attack in 1983, at the age of sixty-nine.


1914 Douglas LePan, OC, (d.1998) was a Canadian diplomat, poet, novelist and professor of literature.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, LePan was educated at the University of Toronto, at Harvard (where he also taught briefly in the late 1930s), and at Merton College, Oxford University.

During the Second World War he was on staff at the Canadian High Commission in London and then served in the Canadian Army as an artilleryman during the Italian campaign.

He joined the Canadian diplomatic service in 1946, and during his years as a diplomat served in London (as special assistant to Lester Pearson in the late 1940s) and in Washington, as well as in Ottawa.

He was formally in the employ of the Department of External Affairs until 1959.

LePan left the diplomatic service in 1959 to return to academic life; he taught at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, and at the University of Toronto, where he was Principal of University College (1964–1970) and then University Professor and Senior Fellow at Massey College.

LePan's wartime experience with the Canadian Army in Italy inspired much of his poetry and one novel, The Deserter (1964). LePan is one of only a few people (Michael Ondaatje and George Bowering are two others) to have won the Governor General's Award both for poetry (1953 for The Net and the Sword) and fiction (1964 for The Deserter, in a highly controversial win over Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel).

In 1982 LePan published his first volume of poetry in almost 30 years (Something Still to Find), and in 1990 he created something of a sensation with Far Voyages, a volume largely composed of gay love poetry. Far Voyages consisted of poems written for and to Patrick Fabbi, a young lover of his who had died in 1985, ending a thirteen-year relationship. (LePan had married, in 1948 to the former Sarah Chambers; the two remained together until 1971 and had two children, but the marriage was a difficult one, not least of all over issues relating to sexual orientation.)

LePan's 1989 book of memoirs Bright Glass of Memory recounts his involvement with several leading lights of the twentieth century, including John Maynard Keynes and T.S. Eliot. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1998; among his other awards were a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Royal Society of Canada's Lorne Pierce Medal (1976), and several honorary degrees.

He remains well known for his war poetry; for his love poems; and for lyric poems in which the poet's passion for the natural world is infused with the suggestion of homoerotic passion ("Coureurs de Bois," "A Country Without a Mythology"). His work has been included in many anthologies.

Late in life he spoke of his regret at never having authored a gay novel.


1936Jean-Claude van Itallie was a Belgian-born American playwright, performer, and theatre workshop teacher, born on this date (d.2021); He is best known for his 1966 anti-Vietnam War play America Hurrah; The Serpent, an ensemble play he wrote with Joseph Chaikin's Open Theatre; his theatrical adaptation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead; and his translations of Anton Chekhov's plays.

After graduating from Harvard, van Itallie moved to Greenwich Village, studied acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse and film editing at New York University, and wrote for theCBS television program Look Up and Live. In 1963, van Itallie's short play, War, was produced at the Barr Albee Wilder Playwrights Unit on Vandam Street. War was later produced alongside John Guare's Muzeeka at the Dallas Theater Center. Van Itallie joined director-actor Joseph Chaikin's Open Theater as Playwright-of-the Ensemble. Van Itallie's early plays were also produced at Ellen Stewart's Café La MaMa, and at Joe Cino's Caffe Cino, "birthplace of gay theater."

His 1966 anti-war trilogy, America Hurrah (Interview, TV, and Motel), ran for almost two years at the Pocket Theater Off-Broadway and at the Royal Court Theater in London. Two of the one-acts were first presented at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in 1964 and 1965.

In 1972, he wrote the script for a gay pornographic film America Creams under a pseudonym, one of the first well-known writers to write a hardcore pornographic film.

Van Itallie wrote over thirty plays.

His 2016 book, Tea with Demons - Games of Transformation, includes memoir and forty-nine self-development games for the reader to play. He taught writing and performance workshops, and has taught at numerous universities and retreats.

He lived on a farm in western Massachusetts, where he taught and directed the Shantigar Foundation for theatre and meditation, and in Greenwich Village.

He died of pneumonia on September 9, 2021 in Manhattan.


1937Victor J. Banis (d.2019) was an American author, often associated with the first wave of West Coast gay writing. For his contributions he has been called "the godfather of modern popular gay fiction." He was openly gay.

Born in 1937 in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, Banis was the tenth of eleven children born to William and Anna Banis. As a small child, Banis moved with his family to Eaton, Ohio, where he lived on a farm and finished high school in 1955. While still in grade school, he began writing Nancy Drew-inspired mysteries featuring his classmate Carol Peters, now the writer Carol Cail. In his memoirs, he writes about growing up in severe poverty.

On his own, he lived for a brief time in Birmingham, Alabama, before moving to Dayton, Ohio, where he worked in sales and floral design. In 1960 he moved to Los Angeles, where he lived for 20 years and had his first literary success. He rapidly turned out a number of important novels, and he and his partner, Sam Dodson, collaborated on a number of nonfictional gay works as well as a few, generally insignificant novels. They also published magazines and edited for DSI, a Minneapolis publisher.

Banis served as a tutor for various aspiring writers and acted as their de facto agent. He championed the early writing of mystery writer Joseph Hansen, among others. In 1980, he moved to Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains, and then in 1985 to San Francisco, where he worked as a property manager. In 2004, he retired and took up residence in Martinsburg, West Virginia. There he returned to writing full-time.

Banis's first published work was a short story, "Broken Record," that appeared in the Swiss gay publication Der Kreis in 1963. His first long work of fiction was The Affairs of Gloria, a romance with a few lesbian scenes inspired by the recent popularity of novels with lesbian themes. The novel was indicted by a federal grand jury in Sioux City, Iowa, for conspiracy to distribute obscene materials. Although some of his co-defendants were found guilty, Banis himself was acquitted.

He continued to write both straight and bisexual novels for Brandon House, buthe was increasingly drawn to depicting the struggling gay scene that was yet barely chronicled in American literature. His first significant work of fiction was the innovative novel The Why Not, 1966. A series of intertwining sketches of habitués of a Los Angeles gay bar.

Finding the novel sold well, Greenleaf Classics editor-in-chief Earl Kemp asked Banis to submit other gay novels. Thus was born The Man from C.A.M.P. (1966). The success of the original novel was so great that Banis went on to write eight sequels (1966-1968). The series is historically important for several reasons. It was the first gay mystery series, already five in number before George Baxt could follow up on his success with A Queer Kind of Death (also 1966), and the C.A.M.P. novels depicted what is probably the first openly out and joyfully unrestrained gay hero in American letters, the indomitable undercover agent Jackie Holmes.

But by 1980, the author of over 100 books, he was feeling burned out and ceased publishing.

At the beginning of this century, Banis began writing fiction once again. The 2007, Wildside Press published Avalon, a heterosexual romance set in the 1940s through the 1970s, and Carroll and Graf published the gay Western romance Longhorns, his first new novels in more than thirty years.


1939 – Today's the birthday of stage and screen actor and long time Gay rights advocate and hero Ian McKellen. Born in Burnley, England, he studied at St. Catharine's College, University of Cambridge.

McKellen was nominated for an Oscar for his role in "Gods and Monsters" becoming the first openly gay actor to be nominated. He had quite a career with roles in such classic plays (and films adaptations) of Macbeth, Richard III and Edward II to name just a few. These are all available on DVD and well worth the watching. Millions of fans the world over know him as the bearded wizard Gandalf or the helmeted mutant master of magnetism Magneto. He may be the best known out Gay actor in the world. He's been out for decades becoming one of the first to do so back in the 1980s. People told him it would mean the end of his career. It hasn't.

While McKellen had made his sexual orientation known to fellow actors early on in his stage career, it was not until 1988 that he came out to the general public, in a programme on BBC Radio. The context that prompted McKellen's decision – overriding any concerns about a possible negative effect on his career – was that the controversial Section 28 of the Local Government Bill, known simply as Section 28, was then under consideration in the British Parliament. Section 28 proposed prohibiting local authorities from promoting homosexuality "... as a kind of pretended family relationship". McKellen became active in fighting the proposed law, and, during a BBC Radio 3 programme where he debated Section 28 with the conservative journalist Peregrine Worsthorne, declared himself gay.

McKellen and his first partner, Brian Taylor, a history teacher from Bolton, began their relationship in 1964. Their relationship lasted for eight years, ending in 1972. They lived in London, where McKellen continued to pursue his career as an actor. For over a decade, he has lived in a five-storey Victorian conversion in Narrow Street, Limehouse.

In 1978 he met his second partner, Sean Mathias, at the Edinburgh Festival. This relationship lasted until 1988. According to Mathias, the ten-year love affair was tempestuous, with conflicts over McKellen's success in acting versus Mathias's somewhat less-successful career. Mathias later directed McKellen in Waiting For Godot at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2009. The pair entered into a business partnership with Evgeny Lebedev, purchasing the lease on The Grapes public house in Narrow Street.

In 2009 McKellen premiered a one-man show in Washington, DC as a benefit for the Washington Shakespeare Theater. He held an audience and this writer spellbound as he performed soliloquey after soliloquey from Shakespearean roles he's had over the years. He shared stories of the actors he has known and called friend.

Most moving of all was his telling the story of being in South Africa after the end of apartheid. He was there for a role but was asked by local Gay activists if he'd be willing to speak to Nelson Mandela about the need for Gay rights protections in the new country's constitution. He told them he would only agree if he were accompanied by South African Gay activist leaders. The three of them, all friends, met with Mandela and spoke of the need for the new country to place Gay rights protections into the constitution. Mandela agreed and it was his support that allowed for South Africa to become the first country to place direct rights for Gay and Lesbian people into its constitution. McKellen called it the proudest moment of his life.


1944Robert MacPherson is an American mathematician at the Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton University. He is best known for the invention of intersection homology with Mark Goresky, whose thesis he directed at Brown University. MacPherson previously taught at Brown University, the University of Paris, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Born in Ohio in 1944, MacPherson was the son of nuclear engineer Herbert MacPherson. Known as “Mac,” the elder MacPherson worked on the Manhattan Project as an expert in the production of graphite with no boron impurities. He was not too pleased that his son went into mathematics.

The son of a conservative nuclear physicist, MacPherson became a political radical. He was beaten by police at a Vietnam War protest at Harvard. His first Ph.D. student, Mark Goresky, eventually became his life partner — an arrangement that was not unprecedented but was at least unusual in an era when it was harder for gays to "come out" publicly. "Goresky and MacPherson" has become practically a single mathematical entity, much like "Rogers and Hammerstein" or "Ben and Jerry." In the early '90s, MacPherson spearheaded a unique relief mission, raising more than $100,000 to keep Russian mathematics afloat and smuggling a significant part of that money into Russia himself.

 Added 2024


1951 — William Stewart, a professional calligrapher, was born on this date, in Providence, Rhode Island. He earned a B.A. in Russian from Reed College in 1973.

William's calligraphy works include a logo for the long-running NPR series Music from the Hearts of Space, the Kimono condom logo, and calligraphy for books by the poet James Broughton, as well as dozens of works of fine art calligraphy.

As "Sister Succuba," William was among the first Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. He created the Sisters' handwritten calligraphic logo, and is credited with proposing the phrase "Perpetual Indulgence" at the Sisters' founding meeting in his apartment in 1979. He and Gilbert Baker were first to be canonized Saints of the Order.

William lost several close friends and lovers to AIDS and volunteered with Shanti Project during the crisis. In 2014, he established Groundswell, a queer retreat center and intentional community in Mendocino. Though disease cut his life short, William laid plans for Groundswell's survival, intending the forested refuge to remain a place of ecological stewardship and service to queer and other marginalized peoples.

For over six decades, William T. Stewart cultivated interests in languages (his own native English and several others, actual and imagined), communications theory, editorship, literature, linguistics, writing systems, geography, cartography, cultural history (actual and imagined), social mores, and environmental advocacy.


1953 Alexander Wilson (d.1993) was a writer, teacher, landscape designer, and community activist.

Born in Ottawa, Illinois, Wilson grew up in Oakland, California. In 1977, he moved to Canada, where he lived and worked in Toronto, Ontario.

Wilson advocated restoring indigenous plant species to the urban landscape, thereby promoting urban biodiversity and reconnecting urban dwellers with the natural history of the place in which they live. He believed that combining ecological restoration and community gardening could be a way to nurture and improve not only urban ecosystems, but also social and economic relations. In his book, The Culture of Nature: North American Landscape from Disney to the Exxon Valdez (1991), he dealt with the ways in which culture informs and constructs our understanding of “nature”, and he examined the colonization and appropriation of nature by the city (particularly via the automobile).

Wilson established the Garrison Creek Planting Company with artist Stephen Andrews (his life partner) and horticulturist Kim Delaney. He also designed the landscaping for the AIDS Memorial, Cawthra Park, itself designed by Patrick Fahn. Following Wilson's death from AIDS-related causes, his own memorial plaque was added to the others in the park.

On an urban lot near his house Wilson created a reclaimed garden that, after his death, friends tried to buy and preserve. Though they were unsuccessful in that project they did find another downtown lot on which a garden was created and named in his memory, the Alex Wilson Community Garden, which opened in June 1998 at 552 Richmond Street West in Toronto.

A plaque in the park includes a quoted passage from The Culture of Nature:

"We must build landscapes that heal and empower, that make intelligible our relations with each other and the natural world."


1965Bernard Baran, Jr. (d.2014) was wrongfully convicted in the day care sex abuse hysteria of the 1980s and 1990s that was spawned by the McMartin preschool trial. Unlike other day care cases, the Baran case garnered little national press coverage. The Baran case spanned almost 25 years from his arrest in October 1984 until all charges were dropped in June 2009. Baran maintained his innocence throughout his case, making him ineligible for parole. Baran was accused, tried and convicted within a three-month period and sentenced to three life sentences in January 1985.

In 2009, the Massachusetts Appeals Court vacated the convictions, deeming the case "notorious," and citing the behavior of the original prosecutor as "troubling." Along with its importance as the first successful conviction, the Baran case is notable amongst the day-care cases for the level of homophobia present in the court record of the prosecution. The Baran case is the subject of the documentary film Freeing Bernie Baran.

Bernard Baran took a job as a teacher's aide in 1983 at the Early Childhood Development Center in his hometown of Pittsfield, the county seat of Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. Shortly before his employment, social workers placed a four-year-old boy at ECDC due to the child's home environment. Eventually the child ended up in the classroom where Baran worked. In September 1984 the Fells Acres Day Care Center preschool case broke and made news across Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter, the parents of the boy complained to the board of directors of ECDC that they "didn't want no homo" working with their child. The Board of Directors held a meeting on September 12, 1984 to specifically discuss Baran's homosexuality and the possibility of terminating his employment because of it. Baran retained his job after being questioned about his homosexuality by his superiors.

On October 1, 1984, the parents of the boy in question removed him from ECDC in protest of Baran's continued employment. The parents were drug addicts and police informants. On October 5, 1984 they called their connection at the Pittsfield police department drug control unit. They alleged that Bernard Baran molested their son at ECDC that day, three days after they had removed the child from the day care. The following day the police began an investigation at ECDC and validated this claim of sexual abuse.

Word of the first allegation broke shortly after the investigation began. Within days the day care center had sponsored a puppet show to facilitate other children's ability to talk about abuse. The day care also notified all the parents that a child at the day care had gonorrhea. After multiple children were interviewed with anatomically correct dolls at both of ECDC's locations, one where Baran worked and one where he did not, Baran was indicted on 3 counts of rape and 5 counts of indecent assault on November 5, 1984.

Baran's case went from arrest to trial in 105 days, convening in court on January 23, 1985, receiving significant local media attention. The court room was closed to the public and the press during the children's testimony without any hearing into the necessity for closing the court, which Baran claimed violated his 6th Amendment right to a public trial. Baran was positioned in the court room so that he could not even hear the testimony of the children. On January 30, 1985 he received three life sentences for three counts of rape of a child and five counts of indecent assault and battery. His conviction held up on appeal in 1986. The law firm that handled his appeal eventually destroyed his defense case file.

n 1999 a new legal team took Baran's case. In a series of hearings from 1999 to 2005, the original defense file was recreated from the contents of the civil suits filed against ECDC after the Baran conviction. The motion for a new trial contained over 300 flawed items in the original trial, including prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, and the use of suggestive interviewing techniques with the children. The motion rested in June 2005.

Baran was granted a new trial in 2006. The Berkshire County District Attorney's office appealed the granting of a new trial in 2008. In 2009 the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the 2006 ruling and set aside the 1984 convictions.

In 2010, Baran's lawyers began the process of suing multiple parties in civil court on his behalf. Even though a $400,000.00 settlement was reached in 2010 the state has denied liability and thus has yet to expunge his record.

Baran died suddenly on September 1, 2014, at his home in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He was survived by his partner, David Colarusso.

1965 – On this date the first openly gay demonstration for gay rights at the White House took place, organized by The Mattachine Society.


1967Billy Martin, known professionally as Poppy Z. Brite, is an American author. He is a trans man and prefers that male pronouns and terms be used when referring to him. Martin initially achieved notoriety in the gothic horror genre of literature in the early 1990s by publishing a string of successful novels and short story collections. His later work moved into the related genre of dark comedy, with many stories set in the New Orleans restaurant world. Martin's novels are typically standalone books but may feature recurring characters from previous novels and short stories. Much of his work features openly bisexual and gay characters.

Martin was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has written and talked extensively about his gender dysphoria and transgender issues. He is a gay man, and has said, "Ever since I was old enough to know what gay men were, I've considered myself a gay man that happens to have been born in a female body, and that's the perspective I'm coming from." In 2003, Martin wrote that, while gender theorists like Kate Bornstein would call him a "nonoperative transsexual", Martin would not insist on a pedantic label, writing "I'm just me".

In August 2010, he began the process of gender reassignment, and, in 2011 expressed that he would prefer to be referred to by male pronouns.

Martin was the longtime partner of Chris DeBarr, a chef, but they broke up in 2011. His current partner is Grey Cross, a New Orleans visual artist and photographer.


1969Anne Heche is an American actress. Her film credits include Six Days Seven Nights, Return to Paradise, I Know What You Did Last Summer, John Q and Volcano. She also starred in the television series Men in Trees, Hung, and most recently in Save Me, Dig and Quantico.

Anne Heche was born in Aurora, Ohio, the youngest of five children. Heche's family moved a total of eleven times during her childhood. When asked in a 2001 interview what her father's source of income was, Heche replied, "Well, he was a choir director. But I don't think he made much on that a week. He said that he was involved in a business of gas and oil. And he said that until the day he died. But he never was involved in the business of gas and oil ever." The family settled in Ocean City, New Jersey when Heche was twelve years old. Due to desperate finances, Anne went to work at a dinner theater in Swainton. "At the time we'd been kicked out of our house and my family was holed up living in a bedroom in the home of a generous family from our church," she said. "I got $100 a week, which was more than anyone else in my family. We all pooled our money in an envelope in a drawer and saved up enough to move out after a year."

In 1983, when Heche was thirteen, her 45-year-old father died of AIDS, although he never came out as a homosexual. "He was in complete denial until the day he died. We know he got it from his gay relationships. Absolutely. I don't think it was just one. He was a very promiscuous man, and we knew his lifestyle then", Heche said on Larry King Live. Despite her father being gay, Heche has claimed that he repeatedly raped her from the time she was an infant until she was twelve, giving her genital herpes. When asked "But why would a gay man rape a girl?", in a 2001 interview with The Advocate, Heche replied "I don't think he was just a gay man. I think he was sexually deviant. My belief was that my father was gay and he had to cover that up. I think he was sexually abusive. The more he couldn't be who he was, the more that came out of him in ways that it did."

In 1985, when Heche was sixteen, an agent spotted her in a school play and secured her an audition for the daytime soap opera As the World Turns. Heche flew to New York City, auditioned, and was offered a job, but her mother insisted she finish high school first. Shortly before her high school graduation in 1987, Heche was offered a dual role on the daytime soap opera Another World. "Again I was told I couldn't go. My mother was very religious and maybe she thought it was a sinner's world," Heche stated. "But I got on the phone and said, 'Send me the ticket. I'm getting on the plane.' I was like, 'Bye!' I did my time with my mom in a one-bedroom, skanky apartment and I was done."

For her work on Another World, Heche received a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991 for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series. In November 1991, Heche made her primetime television debut in an episode of Murphy Brown. She made her TV-movie debut the following year with a brief appearance in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of O Pioneers! (1992). In 1993, Heche made her feature film debut in Disney's The Adventures of Huck Finn with Elijah Wood. Over the next two years, she had small supporting roles in made-for-TV movies such as Girls in Prison (1994) and Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long (1995). She also appeared in the straight-to-video erotic thriller Wild Side (1995) as Joan Chen's lesbian lover.

Heche's relationship with comedienne Ellen DeGeneres and the events following their breakup became subjects of widespread media interest. The couple started dating in 1997, and at one point, said they would get a civil union if such became legal in Vermont. They broke up in August 2000. Heche has stated that all of her other romantic relationships have been with men.

In 2022, possibly under the influence of drugs and alcohol, she drove her car into a house in Los Angeles, setting it on fire. She was severely brain injured and burned in the crash, and died a weeks later.


1974Lawrence Aronovitch is a Canadian playwright and actor based in Ottawa. He is the playwright in residence at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. Aronovitch is a graduate of Harvard University, where he studied the history of science. As an undergraduate, he appeared on stage in a number of student productions.

His first play, Galatea, was produced by Toto Too Theatre in 2009. The play, which is a modern gay version of the classic Pygmalion story, has also been produced in Vancouver, British Columbia and has toured in Northern Ireland.

Aronovitch's next work, The Lavender Railroad, consists of two related one-act plays, each of which looks at the moral choices required of people living in a totalitarian world in which being gay or lesbian is a capital crime. It was produced by Evolution Theatre in 2011.

His ten-minute play Late was featured in New Theatre of Ottawa's Extremely Short Play Festival in May 2012. New Theatre of Ottawa also produced his ten-minute play The Book of Daniel for the 2013 Extremely Short Play Festival.

His play False Assumptions was produced at the Gladstone Theatre in Ottawa in March 2013, featuring graduating students from the Ottawa Theatre School. The play presents the life of Marie Curie and features a number of historical woman scientists as characters, including Hypatia of Alexandria, Ada Lovelace, and Rosalind Franklin.

His play The Auden Test was presented at Arts Court in Ottawa as part of Just Mingling: A Queer Theatrical Salon in March 2016. The play interweaves the lives of the poet W. H. Auden and the mathematician Alan Turing.

Aronovitch has acted on stage in Playing Bare (Evolution Theatre) and Family Matters (New Ottawa Repertory Theatre) and has appeared in the independent films I Never Told Anyone and Call of the City.

1978 – The first "Gay Day" at Disneyland is held. A group entity calling itself The Tavern Guild rented Disneyland for a private party. More than 15,000 people attended and it was the largest private party ever held at Disneyland.

1995 – On this date in Egan v. Canada the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that sexual orientation was a prohibited ground of discrimination under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a part of the constitution. Section 15 does not explicitly list sexual orientation, but is designed to permit the addition of new grounds by the courts. The ruling has had a wide impact since section 15 applies to all laws, including human rights laws that prohibit discrimination by all employers, landlords, service providers and governments.

2007 Colorado & Iowa ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the private sector.

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Gay Wisdom:

The Ballad of Reading Gaol
By Oscar Wilde
(First Canto)

He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
And murdered in her bed.
He walked amongst the Trial Men
In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked
So wistfully at the day.
I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
With sails of silver by.
I walked, with other souls in pain,
Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
"That fellows got to swing."
Dear Christ! the very prison walls
Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
My pain I could not feel.
I only knew what hunted thought
Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved
And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.
Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.

He does not die a death of shame
On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor have a noose about his neck,
Nor a cloth upon his face,
Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
Into an empty place
He does not sit with silent men
Who watch him night and day;
Who watch him when he tries to weep,
And when he tries to pray;
Who watch him lest himself should rob
The prison of its prey.
He does not wake at dawn to see
Dread figures throng his room,
The shivering Chaplain robed in white,
The Sheriff stern with gloom,
And the Governor all in shiny black,
With the yellow face of Doom.
He does not rise in piteous haste
To put on convict-clothes,
While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
Fingering a watch whose little ticks
Are like horrible hammer-blows.
He does not know that sickening thirst
That sands one's throat, before
The hangman with his gardener's gloves
Slips through the padded door,
And binds one with three leathern thongs,
That the throat may thirst no more.
He does not bend his head to hear
The Burial Office read,
Nor, while the terror of his soul
Tells him he is not dead,
Cross his own coffin, as he moves
Into the hideous shed.
He does not stare upon the air
Through a little roof of glass;
He does not pray with lips of clay
For his agony to pass;
Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
The kiss of Caiaphas.

MAY 26 →

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