San Francisco visual artist Jerome Caja (1958-1995) is known for his small, sensuous combinations of found objects, which he painted with nail polish, makeup, and glitter, as well as for his drag performances.
Svend Robinson (b. 1952), the first openly gay Canadian Member of Parliament, has championed human rights throughout his long political career.
Statistical analyst Nate Silver (b. 1978) first came to wide public attention in 2008, when he correctly predicted the outcome of the presidential election in 49 out of 50 states and also forecast accurate results for all of the 35 races for the United States Senate.
|Jazz and The Blues|
|Jazz and the Blues, two of the most prominent musical forms to emerge from African-American roots, differ sharply in their relationships to glbtq performers. While jazz continues to be hostile toward glbtq musicians despite the significant contributions of several gay male jazz artists, the Blues has been more welcoming, particularly to lesbian and bisexual women.|
|Entertainer Josephine Baker (1906-1975) achieved acclaim as the twentieth century's first international black female sex symbol, but kept carefully hidden her many sexual liaisons with women, which continued from adolescence to the end of her life.|
|Gladys Bentley (1907-1960) was an African-American Blues singer whose name became synonymous with "Hot Harlem" of the 1920s. Bentley openly flaunted her lesbianism in the 1920s and 1930s, but recanted in the 1950s in an attempt to salvage her career.|
|A dynamic performer on stage, television, film, and record, Nell Carter (1948-2003) built a successful and versatile show business career; only after her death was her longtime relationship with a woman revealed to the public.|
|Lea DeLaria (b. 1958) has been a proudly out lesbian since the beginning of her career. As the daughter of a jazz musician, performing came naturally to the versatile DeLaria who has earned accolades for her talents as an actor, a singer, and a stand-up comic.|
|Frances Faye (1912-1991) was a gravel-voiced vocalist and pianist whose style and sound evolved over the years to include jazz, pop, Latin, and rock influences. She warmly embraced her gay and lesbian audience and was openly bisexual at a time when few other performers dared to do the same.|
|Peggy Gilbert (1905-2007) was a virtuoso jazz musician and leader of a number of successful all-women bands. She tirelessly promoted other female musicians and demanded that they receive respect and opportunities.|
|Multi-talented Sam Harris (b. 1961) is best known as a singer and actor, especially for his bluesy renditions of classic American songs; since coming out publicly in 1999, he has lent his voice to the cause of glbtq rights.|
|Alberta Hunter (1895-1984), a Blues singer, lyricist, actress, and one of the top recording artists of the 1920s and 1930s, experienced a dramatic comeback in her old age.|
|Janis Joplin (1943-1970) is a rock and roll legend, but she was also a remarkable Blues singer, who helped break down the old dichotomy of “white music” versus “black music.”|
|Mabel Mercer (1900-1984) is one of the most respected singers of the mid-twentieth century. She was a most original stylist who became a beloved icon of gay New York in her later years.|
|Singer, songwriter, and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello (b. 1968) is a notably eclectic artist whose music confronts social and sexual issues, including racial identity, same-sex attraction, and homophobia.|
|Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons have had tremendous influence on Popular Music, though some musical genres have been more receptive to a homosexual presence than others.|
|Gertrude "Ma" Rainey (1886-1939) was short, fat, and country to the core. Nicknamed "The Mother of the Blues," Rainey made no secret of her relationships with women.|
|Larry Rivers (1923-2002) is recognized as one of the pioneers of Pop Art, but he was also a jazz musician, teacher, performer, and writer. Though he did not identify as gay or bisexual and married twice, he had significant same-sex sexual experiences, most notably with poet Frank O'Hara (1926-1966).|
|Bessie Smith (1894-1937), "Empress of the Blues," had a powerful voice and sophisticated musical talents. She conducted her life by her own set of rules and enjoyed affairs with both men and women.|
|William "Billy" Strayhorn (1915-1967) was a major figure in American music who enriched jazz by investing it with complexly orchestrated form. The prolific composer, arranger, and performer was unusual for his refusal to hide his homosexuality.|
|Ethel Waters (1896-1977) is perhaps best remembered as an actress who brought depth and acuity to fat "mammy" roles in plays and films. She began her entertainment career as "Sweet Mama Stringbean," a slender and glamorous blues singer whose musical talents made her a major nightclub star in 1920s Harlem.|
AMERICAN COMPOSER BEST KNOWN FOR HIS OPERA SCORES, 1905
ROCK MUSICIAN WHO SYMBOLIZES THE REBELLIOUS OUTSIDER, 1942
FRENCH LESBIAN ACTRESS AND ROYAL FAVORITE, 1756
POET WHO DELIBERATELY DRAWS ON A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP AS FUEL FOR HIS WORK, 1926
SPECTACULARLY SUCCESSFUL AMERICAN FASHION DESIGNER, 1940
PROVOCATIVE BISEXUAL LATVIAN ARTIST WHO SURVIVED THE SOVIET ERA, 1946
NOVELIST WHO HAS EXPLORED A VARIETY OF HOMOSEXUALITIES, 1940
AMERICAN ACTIVIST WHO DEVOTED HER LIFE TO THE STRUGGLE FOR GAY AND LESBIAN RIGHTS, 1948
FIRST OPENLY GAY MEMBER OF THE CANADIAN PARLIAMENT, 1952
ACTIVIST FOR GLBTQ RIGHTS, 1969
MEDAL-WINNING DUTCH OLYMPIC EQUESTRIAN, 1970
A SOCIOPOLITICAL LIGHTNING ROD WHO MADE HIS GREATEST IMPACT IN FILM, 1922
ARTIST KNOWN FOR HER PHOTOGRAPHS OF FAT WOMEN, NUDE MEN, AND JAPANESE WOMEN, 1942
RENAISSANCE ARTIST WHO LEFT AN ENORMOUS LEGACY, 1475
FILMMAKER, FILM CRITIC, AND POET, 1904
DISTINGUISHED FRENCH COMPOSER, 1875
ONE OF THE MOST ACCOMPLISHED OF THE "GENERATION X" WRITERS, 1964
COMEDIAN, ACTRESS, AND ACTIVIST, 1964
AUTHOR OF MORE THAN A HUNDRED BOOKS AND BOOKLETS OF GAY POETRY, 1929
CONTROVERSIAL DEFENDER OF SEXUAL FREEDOM, 1954
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.
Recent opinion polls indicate a marked increase in American support for gay rights, including marriage equality. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released on March 5, 2014 reveals a record level of acceptance of gay people. The poll confirms other polls that have found steadily rising levels of support since the Supreme Court issued its landmark rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 in June 2013. That support includes, but transcends, the question of equal marriage, and extends into issues of parental and employment rights and even the nature of homosexuality itself.
On March 3, 2014, as sociologist Mark Regnerus began testifying in the Michigan marriage trial, DeBoer v. Snyder, the University of Texas Department of Sociology, where Regnerus is an Associate Professor, issued a statement that both distances itself from Regnerus and points out that his fraudulent study has been denounced as fundamentally flawed by the American Sociological Association.
On March 4, 2014, Mardi Gras will be celebrated in many parts of the world, but in some areas it is a holiday with distinct significance for glbtq people. In some Roman Catholic countries Carnival is observed with abandon. Some of the most famous sites of Mardi Gras celebrations are the weeks-long festivities in Rio de Janeiro, Cologne, Venice, and New Orleans. In contrast to these traditional Mardi Gras observances, Sydney's famous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is rooted in the gay liberation movement and is decidedly secular.
The attempt to codify discrimination via so-called "religious liberty" laws may have backfired on the religious right, as indicated by the backlash against the Arizona bill vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer on February 26, 2014. The bill was part of a concerted push by conservative Christians to present themselves as victims of "gay bullies." But the overwhelmingly negative reaction to it by a wide range of Americans, including Republicans, and especially businesses, indicates that the ploy not only fooled no one, but it also exposed a widening rift within conservative circles. It may be that even a considerable fraction of the Republican Party now views the religious right, and its viciously anti-gay agenda, as more of a liability than an asset.
Former NFL player Roy Simmons, who announced his homosexuality after his playing career ended, died on February 20, 2014 at his apartment in New York. He was an offensive lineman for the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins in the 1980s. The cause of his death was complications related to pneumonia. He was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1997.
On February 26, 2014, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of San Antonio declared Texas's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. He ruled that it violates due process and equal protection under the law by stigmatizing the relationships of same-sex couples and treating them differently under the law.
In an open letter posted on his blog on February 22, 2014, actor and activist George Takei called for a boycott of Arizona should Governor Jan Brewer sign into law its anti-gay "religious liberty" bill. Takei and his husband Brad Altman have deep ties to the state, where they own a vacation home. Citing the economic repercussions that followed the state's vote against the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday in 1989, Takei tells the legislators, "if our appeals to equality, fairness, and our basic right to live in a civil society without doors being slammed in our face for being who we are don't move you, I'll bet a big hit to your pocketbook and state coffers will."
On February 21, 2014, U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled that Cook County same-sex couples may marry immediately notwithstanding the fact that Illinois's recently adopted marriage equality law does not take effect until June 1, 2014. The ruling, which applies to Cook County but may be extended throughout the state, comes in a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois on behalf of several gay and lesbian couples.
On February 20, 2014, the Arizona legislature passed a "religious liberty" bill that permits businesses and individuals to discriminate against gay people and others as a matter of religious belief. The bill, which is now in the hands of Governor Jan Brewer to sign into law or to veto, is part of a concerted push by conservative Christians to present themselves as victims of the "gay rights agenda." Designed to gut the human rights acts and statutes that protect glbtq people from discrimination, bills such as this confirm the naked animus against gay people by conservative Christians and acknowledge that they have lost the struggle against marriage equality. These bills almost certainly cannot withstand judicial scrutiny. Of course, when they are declared unconstitutional by courts, their backers will again get an opportunity to whine about how they are the real victims in the culture wars they prosecute.
Recent court rulings in Kentucky and Virginia make clear the pathway to equality. In some ways the rulings, one by a George H.W. Bush appointee, the other by a Barack Obama appointee, are quite different, but they both lead to the same destination and they are both built on the landmark Supreme Court rulings in Romer, Lawrence, and Windsor, all three written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.