10-12-1932 – 08-19-2017 Dick Gregory – Born in St. Louis, Missouri. He was an African-American comedian civil rights activist, social critic, writer and occasional actor. During the 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his “no -holds-barred” sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism. Until 1961, he performed mainly to black audiences in segregated clubs. He became the first black comedian to successfully cross over to white audiences. His first big break was an appearance on the Tonight Show in 1962. He only agreed to go on the show if he could sit down with host Jack Paar afterwards. Prior to this, African-American performers would have to leave the set immediately after performing. He protested the Vietnam War. Another issue that Gregory didn’t shy away from was homosexuality in Christianity. Speaking about King James – the English King who commissioned the translation of the Bible, which is now known as the King James version — and referring to the well-documented theory that the 16th century monarch was gay, Gregory said he was bemused by the fact that so many Christians – particularly black Christians – condemn homosexuality, yet vehemently follow the Bible. ” My mother, who’s been dead for years, was so spiritual and pure, you’d think that God had literally spat her out. But she didn’t know that King James was the King of England – or that he was a homosexual. King James hated women so much that he killed his own mother, and his lover was Lord Buckingham, who Buckingham Palace was named after. So when there was all this emphasis on how black Christians were condemning President Obama for supporting same-sex marriage, I was thinking, ‘But it’s [homosexuality] in the book y’all read!’ I’ve been going to black churches all my life, and in every church, everybody knew who the gay preachers were and which members of the congregation were gay. So I’m like, ‘Why, all of a sudden, are you condemning homosexuality, like you didn’t know what was going on under your noses all that time?’”
1883 – 1964 – Jane Heap – (DOB Unknown) Born in Topeka, Kansas. She was an American publisher and a significant figure in the development and promotion of modern literary works. She was lovers with Margaret Anderson and Djuna Barnes. Heap edited The Little Review, that was founded by Margaret Anderson. The magazine published an exceptional collection of modern American, English and Irish writers between 1914 and 1929. Heap has been called “one of the most neglected contributors to the spreading of modernism between America and Europe during the early twentieth century.” In 2006, Jane Heap and Margaret Anderson were inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.
1928 – Harriet Sohmers Zwerling – (DOB Unknown) American writer and artist’s model. She lived in Paris in the 1950s. She was bisexual and had a few love relationships with women, including Maria Irene Fornés from 1954 to 1957, and then Susan Sontag until 1958. She also appears in the documentary Regarding Susan Sontag, shown at the Tribeca film festival, April 2014.
1946 – 07-22-2011 Ifti Nasum – (DOB Unknown) Born in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He was an out gay Muslim Pakistani poet. At the age of twenty-one, he moved to the U.S. to escape persecution for his sexual orientation and to avoid an arranged marriage. Nasum became known for establishing Sangat, an organization to support LGBT south-Asian youths, and for publishing “Narman,” a poetry collection that was the first open expression of homosexual themes in the Urdu language. He also hosted a weekly radio show and wrote a weekly column for a Pakistani American newspaper advocating LGBT rights in South Asian and Muslim communities.
1948 – Ann Northrop – (DOB Unknown) Born in Hartford, Connecticut. She is a journalist, gay activist, and is the current co-host of TV news program Gay USA. She came out when she was 28 and working for Ms. magazine. In 1988 she became involved with ACT UP/New York. She was involved in demonstrations and was arrested about 24 times for civil disobedience. In 1992, she was the only out lesbian or gay individual in the New York delegation to the Democratic National Convention. Northrop also helped establish the Lesbian and Gay Alumni Association of Vassar College.
1957 – Patria Jimenez – (DOB Unknown) Born in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. She is a Mexican politician and head of E! Closet de Sor Juana (Sister Juana’s Closet), a lesbian rights group. She is the first openly gay member of Mexico’s legislature in the country’s history and the first in any legislature in Latin America. She is a major Latin American voice for LGBT rights and civil rights for all.