11-04-1925 – 04-17-2016 Doris Roberts – Born in St. Louis, Missouri. She was an American actress. During her acting career she received five Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild award. She is best remembered for her role as Marie on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005). She was a long time supporter of LGBT rights. In an interview with the Huffington Post Live, she said, “I’m not gay, I’m Jewish. It’s the same thing. “ Roberts related her persecution as a Jew to the persecution that gay people feel. She was the chair of the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation. Roberts was also an animal rights advocate.
11-04-1877 – 11-1938 Isabelle McClung – Born into a wealthy Pittsburg, Pennsylvania family. She was one of the greatest loves of Willa Cather. From 1899 until Isabelle’s death in 1938, they were sometimes lovers, always devoted friends. Around 1901, Cather moved into the home of Isabelle (she was in her late teens and lived with her parents). The two women shared a bedroom and were inseparable at dinner parties. They traveled to Europe and out West together. When Cather moved to New York in 1906, Isabelle’s father forbade her from going. Although Cather had other relationships with women throughout her life, Isabelle was perhaps her true love. Late in her life, Cather said that “all my books were written for Isabelle.”
11-04-1896 – 06-04-1967 J.R. Ackerly – Born in London, England. He was a British writer, editor and playwright, born Joseph Randolph Ackerly in Herne Hill. He started with the BBC in 1927, the year it was founded. Ackerly was promoted to literary editor of The Listener, its weekly magazine, where he served for more than two decades. He published many emerging poets and writers who became influential in Great Britain. Ackerly was openly gay, a rarity in his time, when homosexuality was forbidden by law and socially ostracized. His memoir tells what it was like for a gay man of his generation.
11-04-1912 – 11-08-1991 Frances Faye – Born in Brooklyn, New York. She was an American cabaret and show tune singer and pianist. She was second cousin of actor Danny Kaye. Faye recorded about a dozen albums for many different record labels, including Capitol Records, Imperial Records, and jazz labels Verve Records, and Bethlehem Records. In the late 1950s, Teri Shepherd became her manager and lifelong partner. Shepherd discussed her relationship with Faye in Bruce Weber’s 2001 film Chop Suey.
11-04-1933 – 11-10-2011 Barbara Grier – Born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She and long time partner, Donna McBride, started Naiad Press in 1973 – the first publishing house that made literature by and about lesbians widely available in the United States and abroad. By the time it folded in 2003, it had published more than 500 titles by authors such as Rita Mae Brown, Katherine V. Forrest, Jane Rule, and Sheila Ortiz Taylor. Their top selling book was the nonfiction Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence (1985) by Rosemary Curb and Nancy Manahan. Grier and McBride were given the Lambda Literary Pioneer Award in 2002.
11-04-1946 – 03-09-1989 Robert Mapplethorpe – Born in Floral Park, New York. He was an American photographer, known for his large-scale, highly stylized black and white photos of nude men. He lived with his partner Patti Smith from 1967 to 1974. They created art together, and even after he realized he was gay, they maintained a close relationship. From 1977 until 1980, Mapplethorpe was the lover of gay writer and Drummer magazine editor Jack Fritscher. Mapplethorpe died at the age of 42 from complications arising from AIDS. Patti Smith’s 2010 memoir Just Kids focuses on her relationship with Mapplethorpe.
11-04-1952 – 08-11-2014 Raymond Gravel – Born in Saint-Damien-de-Brandon, Quebec, Canada. He was a Canadian politician and member of the Canadian Parliament from 2006 – 2008. He was open about working in Montreal’s Gay Village where he was a hustler. In 1982 he entered seminary and became a Catholic priest. He was controversial among the the clergy for his support of abortion rights, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage. He died of lung cancer at the age of 61.
11-04-1956 John S. Arrowood – Born in Burnsville, North Carolina. He is an American attorney and judge. He is the first openly gay judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
11-04-1961 Jon Robin Baitz – Born in Los Angeles, California. He is a playwright, producer, and actor. Baitz is openly gay. From 1990 to 2002, Baitz was the romantic partner of actor and director Joe Mantello. Baitz is a professor at Stony Brook Southampton and The New School where he is Artistic Director of the theatre program. He wrote the screenplay for the 2015 film Stonewall.
11-04-1961 Jeremy Bernard – Born in San Antonio, Texas. He was the White House Social Secretary appointed by President Obama on February 25, 2011. He was the first male and out gay man to serve in this position. Bernard is a prominent Democratic fundraiser and gay rights advocate who served eight years on the Democratic National Committee.
11-04-1978 Carole Péon – Born in Nice, France. She is a French triathlete. She is an out lesbian, and has been in a relationship with fellow French triathlete Jessica Harrison since 2005. She competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
11-04-1981 Martina Strutz – Born in Schwerin, East Germany. She is a German pole vaulter. She finished fifth in women pole vault at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London and 9th in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Strutz was one of 49 out LGBT athletes to participate in the 2016 Summer Games.