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Spotlight Russia
 
  Russia A cultural crossroads between Asia and Europe, Russia has a long, rich, and often violent heritage of varied influences and stark confrontations in regard to its patterns of same-sex love.  
 
 
  Ballets Russes The Ballets Russes (1909-1962), a Ballet company formed by impresario Sergei Diaghilev, is crucial to the history of dance and was also one of the earliest gay-identified multinational enterprises.  
 
 
  Sergei Diaghilev For Russian nobleman Sergei Diaghilev (1872-1929), who revolutionized music, the visual arts, theater, and dance, homosexuality may have been integral to his creativity.  
 
 
  Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein One of the greatest filmmakers in the history of cinema, Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein (1898-1948) chafed under the restrictions of Stalinism.  
 
 
  Nikolai Gogol Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) was a playwright, humorist, and novelist. Nearly all of his works obliquely reflect his repressed homosexuality, especially in the fear of marriage that permeates his stories and plays.  
 
 
  Vladimir Horowitz Russian-American pianist Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989) is widely regarded as among the greatest musicians of the twentieth century. His legendary artistry, preserved on recordings, remains a source of inspiration and delight.  
 
 
  Mikhail Alekseyevich Kuzmin The Russian writer and translator Mikhail Alekseyevich Kuzmin (1872-1936) wrote poems and novels that present sympathetic, often idealistic, portrayals of gay love and desire.  
 
 
  Serge Lifar Fiercely ambitious, Serge Lifar (1905-1986) used his extraordinary looks and charismatic personality to rise to the ranks of leading international ballet dancers and choreographers of the twentieth century.  
 
 
  The confusion of queer identities and possibilities presented by Moscow owes much to its rapid growth and the village origins of its inhabitants.  
 
 
  Vaslav Nijinsky One of the greatest dancers and most innovative choreographers in the history of ballet, Vaslav Nijinsky (1890-1950) embodied the sensuality and sexual ambiguity associated with the distinctive new art of the twentieth century.  
 
 
  Rudolf Nureyev The greatest dancer of his time, Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993) also gave the world a new and glamorous image of a sexually active gay man.  
 
 
  Sergei Paradjanov None of the films of Russian director Sergei Paradjanov (1924-1990), who spent more than eight years in prison for homosexuality, feature overtly gay themes, but they are infused with a queer sensibility that manifests itself in lyrical tableaux.  
 
 
  Sophia Parnok The creativity of Russian poet Sophia Parnok (1885-1933) was closely linked to her lesbianism.  
 
 
  Since the eleventh century, Russian Literature has included treatments of homosexual themes.  
 
 
  St. Petersburg, Russia was once the crucible of one of history's liveliest and most articulate homosexual cultures.  
 
 
  Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky One of the greatest composers in the history of music, Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) inspired a cult of gay admirers who detected in his work themes of forbidden love.  
 
 
  Pavel Tchelitchew Russian-born painter, sculptor, and set designer Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957) created a number of works that illustrate homoerotic desire.  
 
 
  Marina Tsvetaeva A lesbian theme runs throughout the works of Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941), widely considered one of the four greatest twentieth-century Russian poets.  
 
 
notable birthdays this week
November 23
 
Manuel de Falla
ONE OF 20TH-CENTURY SPAIN'S MOST ILLUSTRIOUS COMPOSERS, 1876
Erté
DESIGNER WHO CREATED STRIKING ART DECO FASHIONS, 1892
 
Bruce Vilanch
COMEDY WRITER, PERFORMER, AND TIRELESS ADVOCATE OF GLBTQ CAUSES, 1948
 
November 24
 
Margaret Anderson Margaret Anderson
EDITOR OF THE LITTLE REVIEW AND AUTHOR OF A THREE-PART AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND A NOVEL ABOUT LESBIAN LIFE, 1886
Arthur Tress
GAY AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHER WITH AN UNCOMPROMISING AND POETIC STYLE, 1940
 
November 25
 
Virgil Thomson Virgil Thomson
PIONEER IN CREATING A SPECIFICALLY AMERICAN FORM OF CLASSICAL MUSIC, 1896
Robert Friend
AMERICAN-BORN ISRAELI POET AND TRANSLATOR OF POETRY, 1913
 
Rosa von Praunheim
FILMMAKER AND ONE OF GERMANY'S LEADING ACTIVISTS, 1942
David B. Feinberg
AUTHOR OF POWERFUL NOVELS ABOUT THE AIDS PANDEMIC, 1956
 
November 26
 
Isabel Miller
WRITER WHO WON THE FIRST GAY BOOK AWARD FOR A PLACE FOR US, 1924
Richard Hall
WRITER WHO FOCUSED ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY ON ISSUES OF GAY IDENTITY AND COMMUNITY, 1926
 
Wayland Flowers
PUPPETEER WHO CREATED A HILARIOUS CHARACTER HE NAMED MADAME, 1939
Tseko Simon Nkoli
SOUTH AFRICAN GLBTQ RIGHTS AND ANTI-APARTHEID ACTIVIST, 1957
 
John Amaechi
FORMER NBA PLAYER, NOW AN ACTIVIST FOR GLBTQ RIGHTS, 1970
Chris Hughes
FACEBOOK CO-FOUNDER AND GLBTQ RIGHTS ADVOCATE, 1983
 
November 27
 
Nicole Brossard
QUÉBÉCOISE WRITER AND EDITOR WHO TREATS GENDER, SEXUALITY, AND LITERARY CONVENTION IN A RADICAL WAY, 1943
 
November 28
 
Jean-Baptiste Lully Jean-Baptiste Lully
COMPOSER WHO ESTABLISHED THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF FRENCH OPERA, 1632
Ernst Röhm Ernst Röhm
AVID NAZI WHO WAS KILLED WHEN ADOLF HITLER "CLEANSED" THE PARTY OF HOMOSEXUALS, 1887
 
Midge Costanza
POLITICAL ACTIVIST AND CHAMPION OF GAY AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS, 1932
Rita Mae Brown
THE AUTHOR OF RUBYFRUIT JUNGLE WHOSE WORK RESISTS EASY CATEGORIZATION, 1944
 
John Galliano
DESIGNER KNOWN AS THE WILD CHILD OF BRITISH FASHION, 1960
 
November 29
 
Peter Cameron
WRITER RENOWNED FOR ASTUTE EXPLORATIONS OF EMOTION AND INTOXICATING DIALOG, 1959
 
About Notable Birthdays
This feature lists people about whom glbtq.com has both entries and complete birth dates. Each person listed has made a significant contribution to or had a significant impact on glbtq culture or history. Most are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, though some are either heterosexual or cannot be adequately characterized using any of these labels.
 
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Latest Blog Posts

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on November 27, 2014, we have much for which to give thanks, not least the extraordinary progress we have made recently toward the goal of securing equal rights. Hence, on this Thanksgiving, we may confidently say, "It Gets Better." Most of the music videos embedded below are inspired by Dan Savage and Terry Miller's "It Gets Better" project, founded in the fall of 2010 in the midst of an outbreak of gay youth suicide. Because things do get better, we have reason to be grateful.

Judge Carlton Reeves.

On November 26, 2014, federal district judges in Arkansas and Mississippi struck down bans on same-sex marriage. Federal District Judge Kristine Baker ruled that Arkansas' marriage laws, including Amendment 83, which was adopted by referendum in 2002, violated the U.S. Constitution by "precluding same-sex couples from exercising their fundamental right to marry in Arkansas, by not recognizing valid same-sex marriages from other states, and by discriminating on the basis of gender." In a particularly eloquent ruling, District Judge Carlton Reeves declared that "Gay and lesbian persons are full citizens that share the same rights as other citizens, including the right to marry." Judge Baker stayed her ruling pending appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; Judge Reeves stayed his decision for two weeks to permit an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

In an op-ed in the Advocate, entitled "How Gay Genius Alan Turing Got Me through Middle-School," teen scientist Jack Andraka expresses gratitude to Alan Turing, who served as a role model for him when he was coming out. While celebrating the example of Turing, Andraka criticizes the stereotypes that define contemporary gay culture and calls for greater diversity: "If we truly desire equality in our society, then we must break free from our stereotypes, making our foremost feature not our sexuality, but our potential to improve the world."

Ty Herndon.

On November 20, 2014, two country music stars--Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman--announced that they are gay. At the age of 52, Herndon confirmed long-standing rumors about his sexuality, telling Entertainment Tonight that "I have an awesome relationship that I've been in for a good number of years. [I] love him very much and he loves me." Hours later, Gilman released a YouTube video in which he credited Herndon for easing the way to embrace his own truth.

As a result of a decision by U.S. District Judge Brian Morris released on November 19, 2014, Montana's ban on same-sex marriage has been declared unconstitutional. With this ruling, all the states in the Ninth Circuit now have marriage equality.

Ted Ostius (right) and husband Clayton Bond.

Congratulations to career diplomat Ted Osius, whose nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam was confirmed by a voice vote of the U.S. Senate on November 18, 2014. The Foreign Service officer will become the ninth openly gay man to serve as U.S. ambassador, and the seventh to be appointed by President Obama.

Transgender activist and writer Leslie Feinberg died on November 15, 2014 in Syracuse, New York, where she succumbed to complications of multiple tick-borne infections after decades of illness. She died at home, with her partner and spouse of 22 years, poet Minnie Bruce Pratt, at her side.

Derrick Gordon.

On November 14, 2014, Derrick Gordon of the University of Massachusetts made history as the first openly gay Division I men's basketball player to actually play the game. The 6'3" junior scored 17 points as UMass defeated Siena College 95-87 in front of a crowd of 8200, the school's largest home-opener crowd since 1997.

S.L. Price's feature story in the current issue of Sports Illustrated, "Max Lenox's Amazing Journey to Much-Admired Army Hoops Captain," focuses on the family of the West Point senior who has twice been elected captain of the Academy's basketball team. It is an affecting story of how dreams and determination can overcome all kinds of obstacles, including racism and homophobia. Born to a mother who abused crack cocaine during her pregnancy, Lenox was adopted by a white gay couple who loved and nurtured him and helped him become the leader he is today.

On November 12, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States cleared the way for marriage equality in Kansas. The Court denied Kansas's request for a stay of the decision by U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree declaring the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The denial ends the temporary stay Justice Sotomayor had issued two days ago to allow the High Court to consider the request.

 
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