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Spotlight Writers of Ancient Greece and Rome
 
  Cicero Ancient Greek Literature openly celebrated same-sex love in its poetry and prose. For the most part, Roman Writing on homosexual themes followed the Greek models, though the two cultures held sharply differing attitudes toward love between males.  
 
 
  Augustine Hostility toward all non-procreative sexuality led Augustine of Hippo (334-430) to condemn homosexuality, though same-sex friendships played an important role in his own emotional life.  
 
 
  Catullus Roman poet Catullus (ca 85-ca 55 B.C.E.) incorporated homoerotic themes in his verse that both reflected the passionate character of same-sex friendships and described several of his own homosexual adventures.  
 
 
  Horace Horace (65-8 B.C.E.) reflects the easy bisexuality of the first century B.C.E. Roman upper class in his accomplished and influential poetry.  
 
 
  Juvenal Juvenal (ca 55 or 60-ca 130) was a famously sharp-tongued author of satires that often lampooned Roman sexual practices. In places, the satires suggest that a subculture similar to modern gay subcultures existed in ancient Rome, but the satirical nature of these texts makes them complicated to interpret.  
 
 
  Lucian (ca 120-ca 185) is best known as a satirical author of seventy to eighty prose pieces in Greek. Some treat homosexuality as a personal trait associated with villainy, pretension, and ignorance.  
 
 
  Classical Mythology The Greco-Roman Myths concerning same-sex love have been of crucial importance to the Western gay and lesbian literary heritage, both as texts and as icons.  
 
 
  Both the Elegiac and the romantic Pastoral have been associated with homoerotic desire from their beginnings in classical literature to their echoes in contemporary literatures.  
 
 
  Patristic Writers Patristic Writers, also known as the Church Fathers, were Christian authors who appropriated currents of hostility to homoeroticism in pagan thought and used them to strengthen the prohibitions of Leviticus and Paul, while also expressing their own hostile interpretations.  
 
 
  St. Paul St. Paul (d. ca 66), a Christian Apostle, condemns same-sex eroticism in his New Testament Epistle to the Romans and his first Epistle to the Corinthians. The views he expresses there have been used to justify church-sanctioned homophobia for centuries; and they continue to shape many Christians' attitudes toward male and female homosexuality today.  
 
 
  Petronius (ca 27-66) is the author of The Satyricon, a brilliant satire of excesses in Nero's Rome that remains one of the most bumptious homoerotic picaresque narratives ever written.  
 
 
  Plato Plato (427-327 B.C.E.) is preeminent among Greek writers on homosexual themes as both a philosopher and a master of Greek prose.  
 
 
  Plutarch Plutarch (ca 46-ca 120) was a prolific author who wrote extensively on male-male love in Greece and Rome. While no ancient author is more instructive about pederasty than Plutarch, he also described love between adult males.  
 
 
  Sappho Sappho (b. ca 630 B.C.E.) has been admired through the ages as one of the greatest lyric poets of ancient Greece and is today esteemed by lesbians around the world as the archetypal lesbian and their symbolic mother.  
 
 
  Theocritus (ca 308-240 B.C.E.), an ancient Greek poet, is the first great voice in the homoerotic pastoral tradition in Western literature. His significance for gay literary history resides in the fact that five of his thirty Idylls map the emotional and poetic terrains of intense--especially frustrated--homosexual desire that later poets would explore in greater detail.  
 
 
  Virgil Virgil (70-19 B.C.E.) wrote approvingly of male love in many works, and his second eclogue became the most famous poem on that subject in Latin literature.  
 
 
notable birthdays this week
April 12
 
William M. Hoffman
PLAYWRIGHT, LIBRETTIST, AND EDUCATOR, 1939
Charles Ludlam
AN INNOVATOR IN AMERICAN THEATER, 1943
 
Amy Ray Amy Ray
ONE OF THE INDIGO GIRLS FOLK/POP DUET, 1964
 
April 13
 
Frank Murphy Frank Murphy
JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT, 1890
Nella Larsen Nella Larsen
BISEXUAL AFRICAN-AMERICAN NOVELIST WHO TREATED LESBIANISM COVERTLY, 1891
 
Lanford Wilson Lanford Wilson
PLAYWRIGHT AND A POWERFUL VOICE SPEAKING OF THE LIVES OF GAY MEN TODAY, 1937
Deborah A. Batts
THE FIRST OPENLY GAY U.S. FEDERAL JUDGE, 1947
 
April 14
 
Sir John Gielgud Sir John Gielgud
ONE OF THE GREATEST 20TH-CENTURY BRITISH ACTORS, 1904
Don Roos
SCREENWRITER AND DIRECTOR WHOSE FILMS OFTEN FEATURE GAY AND LESBIAN CHARACTERS, 1955
 
April 15
 
 Leonardo da Vinci Leonardo da Vinci
QUINTESSENTIAL RENAISSANCE MAN, 1452
Benjamin Jowett Benjamin Jowett
CLASSICAL SCHOLAR REMEMBERED FOR BOWDLERIZING PLATO, 1817
 
Henry James Henry James
FAMED AMERICAN WRITER WHOSE SEXUALITY HAS COME UNDER RECENT SCRUTINY, 1843
Bessie Smith Bessie Smith
"EMPRESS OF THE BLUES" WHOSE HISTORY IS FILLED WITH COLORFUL LEGENDS, 1894
 
George Platt Lynes George Platt Lynes
PHOTOGRAPHER WHOSE GREATEST WORK MAY HAVE BEEN HIS DANCE IMAGES AND MALE NUDES, 1907
Howard Brown
PHYSICIAN AND FOUNDER OF THE NATIONAL GAY TASK FORCE, 1924
 
Craig Zadan
PROLIFIC FILM, TELEVISION, AND STAGE PRODUCER, 1949
 
April 16
 
Merce Cunningham
INFLUENTIAL 20TH CENTURY DANCER AND CHOREOGRAPHER, 1919
Dusty Springfield Dusty Springfield
THE MOST POPULAR FEMALE BRITISH ROCK STAR OF THE 1960s, 1939
 
Essex Hemphill
ACCLAIMED CONTEMPORARY GAY AFRICAN-AMERICAN POET, 1957
 
April 17
 
C.P. Cavafy C.P. Cavafy
ONE OF THE GREATEST POETS TO HAVE WRITTEN IN MODERN GREEK, 1863
Thornton Wilder Thornton Wilder
PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING AMERICAN PLAYWRIGHT AND NOVELIST, 1897
 
Lindsay Anderson
A FOUNDATIONAL FIGURE IN THE BRITISH "FREE CINEMA" MOVEMENT, 1923
 
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
Christopher Wheeldon.

Congratulations to Christopher Wheeldon, Craig Lucas, and the entire creative team of the new musical, An American in Paris. Based on the 1951 film of the same name, which was directed by Vincente Minelli and starred Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guétary, and Nina Foch, and featured music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and a script by Jay Allen Lerner, the new musical is directed and choreographed by Wheeldon and features a book by Lucas and sets and costumes by Robert Crowley. It stars ballet dancers Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope.

In an emotional ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Santiago on April 13, 2015, President Michelle Bachelet signed into law a bill that allows gay men and lesbians to enter into civil unions that provide many of the rights and obligations of marriage.

On April 4, 2015, Chad Allen posted a video on his fansite in which he bids farewell to his acting career. Allen, who earned fame playing an autistic child on St. Elsewhere in the 1980s and then had a six-year run on Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman in the 1990s, when he was outed in the tabloids, officially came out in an Advocate interview on National Coming Out Day in 2001. In the past few years, Allen has been completing his education to become a clinical psychologist, the profession he is now entering.

Jim Obergefell (left) and the late John Arthur.

Because of the way the Supreme Court of the United States refers to consolidated cases, Jim Obergefell is likely to soon become a household name. On April 28, 2015, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on same-sex marriage cases from Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, and will issue its long awaited decision by the end of June. Because the Court refers to consolidated cases by the one that has the lowest file number, the four cases will collectively be known as Obergefell v. Hodges, which is the name of the Ohio case. If, as expected, the Supreme Court rules that the fourteenth amendment requires marriage equality throughout the nation, that decision will be known as Obergefell and will make Jim Obergefell a household name. The decision is likely to be among the most significant rulings in American history, and the name Obergefell will join such other famous names in judicial lore as Loving, Brown, Lawrence, and Windsor.

Still from a video of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus performing "Testimony."

The stories of Easter and Passover are stories of triumphing over adversity, of overcoming hatred and contempt. As such, they speak in powerful ways to glbtq people, whether they are religious or not, and despite the fact that often the adversity faced by glbtq people is created by religion. In observance of these holidays, we want to call attention once more to the powerful composition by Stephen Schwartz inspired by the "It Gets Better" project and performed by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Timothy Seelig. The composition may be especially appropriate this year because of our recent triumph over the ugly attempt by anti-gay activists and politicians to use religion as a license to discriminate via the insidious Religious Freedom Restoration Acts originally adopted in Indiana and Arkansas. Luckily, an outpouring of protest and indignation led to their significant modification.

Attorneys Mary Bonauto and Douglas Hallward-Driemeier have been selected to present oral arguments on behalf of marriage equality before the Supreme Court of the United States on April 28, 2015. Bonauto will represent plaintiffs from Michigan and Kentucky and address the question whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to license marriages of same-sex couples, while Hallward-Driemeier will represent plaintiffs from Ohio and Tennessee and address the question whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to recognize valid same-sex marriages performed out of state.

Congratulations to the recipients of GLAAD's annual media awards presented at a gala dinner in Los Angeles on March 21, 2015. Among the recipients were film director Roland Emmerich, who was honored with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, and actress Kerry Washington, who received the Vanguard Award for Allies.

On March 20, 2015, César Miranda, Puerto Rico's Secretary of Justice, announced that the Commonwealth will no longer defend its ban on same-sex marriage. The ban was upheld by a federal district judge in October 2014, but is under appeal at the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in a case known as Conde-Vidal v. Rius-Armendariz. Puerto Rico's Solicitor General submitted a brief in the case conceding that the ban violates the Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.

On March 17, 2015, the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved same-sex marriage when the 87th of its 171 presbyteries, or regional bodies, voted to amend the denomination's constitution to define marriage not as between "a man and a woman" but between "two people, traditionally a man and a woman." The voice vote by the Presbytery of the Palisades, meeting in Fair Lawn, N.J., left the current tally at 87 presbyteries in favor of the change recommended by the denomination's General Assembly in 2014 and 41 opposed.

Independent filmmaker Richard Glatzer died of complications from A.L.S. at his home in Los Angeles on March 10, 2015. With his husband Wash Westmoreland, he recently wrote and directed the film Still Alice (2014), which starred Julianne Moore in an Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning performance as a college professor coping with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

 
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