10-03-1925 – 07-31-2012 Gore Vidal – He was an American writer of novels, essays, screenplays and stage plays. He was also an intellectual known for his wit. As a political commentator and essayist, Vidal’s principal subject was the history of the United States and its society. Vidal’s public debates on sex, politics and religion with other intellectuals and writers, occasionally became continual quarrels, as with William F. Buckley Jr. and Norman Mailer. Vidal believed that men and women are pansexual. He rejected the adjectives “homosexual” and “heterosexual” when used as nouns, as inherently false terms used to classify and control people in society. In the genre of social satire, Myra Breckinridge (1968) he explores the mutability of gender-role and sexual-orientation as being social constructs established by social mores. In 1950, Gore Vidal met Howard Austen, who became his life-partner in a 53-year relationship. Vidal said that he refused to call himself “gay”, because he was not an adjective, because “to be categorized is, simply, to be enslaved. I have never thought of myself as a victim…I’ve said —a thousand times?—in print and on TV, that everyone is bisexual.”
10-03-1858 – 04-21-1924 Eleonora Duse – Born in Vigevano, Italy. She was an Italian actress, known as Duse. Because of her total assumption of the roles she portrayed, she is regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time. Duse was thought as a rival to Sarah Bernhardt. Comparing the two actresses was common. George Bernard Shaw thought Duse the better actress. Ellen Terry, a famous British actress of the time and knew them both well, stated, “How futile it is to make comparisons! Better far to thank heaven for both these women.” In 1896, Duse performed in Washington, D.C.. President Grover Cleveland and his wife attended every performance. Washington society was shocked when the First Lady held a tea in Duse’s honor at the White House, the first for an actress. In 1909, she met and had an affair with feminist Lina Poletti. It was also rumored that she had an affair with dancer Isadora Duncan and she did have affairs with men. On July 30, 1923, Duse became the first woman (and Italian) to be featured on the cover of Time magazine.
10-03-1894 – 03-06-1979 Wilna Hervey – Born in San Francisco, California, she grew up in affluent circumstances in New York. She was an American silent film actress and artist. In the late 1910s, Hervey studies at the Art Students League in New York City. Her acting career began in 1916 and she took on the name Wilna Wilde. In 1919, she was cast in the role of “The Powerful Katrinka” in the silent film series based on the comic strip, Toonerville Folks. Much of the slapstick comedy in the series revolves around Hervey’s physical stature — she was 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 300 pounds. While working on the production, she met Nan Mason (1896-1982), the daughter of her co-star Dan Mason. Nan and Hervey became life partners, remaining together 59 years, until Hervey’s death in 1979. From 1922 to 1929, the couple split their time between painting and farming in Woodstock, New York and acting opportunities in California. Both found artistic success during the 1960s. They are buried together at Artists Cemetery, Woodstock, New York. Hervey’s personal papers, including an unpublished memoir, are held at the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
10-03-1877 – 07-07-1965 Virginia Gildersleeve – Born in New York City, New York. She was an American academic, Dean of Barnard College, and the only US female delegate to the April 1945 San Francisco United Nations Conference, which negotiated the UN Charter and created the United Nations. During WWI, she was a strong supporter of the formation of the League of Nations. In 1942, during WWII, she was instrumental in founding the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). Its second in command was Gildersleeve’s long-time companion, English Professor, Elizabeth Reynard. Prior to her relationship with Reynard, she was intimately involved with Caroline Spurgeon (the first female university professor in London, England). In the 1940s, she paid for the full scholarship of at least one African-American student from Harlem out of her own pocket. Rosalind Rosenberg, Gildersleeve’s biographer, said of her, “By insisting that women have the right to every educational opportunity open to men, and by fighting her whole life to secure that opportunity, she helped establish the bedrock on which feminists have been building ever since.” Gildersleeve and Reynard are buried together at Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Churchyard, Bedford, New York.
10-03-1897 – 12-24-1982 Louis Aragon (born Louis Andrieux) – Born in Paris, France. Bisexual poet, essayist and novelist. Having been involved in Dadaism from 1919 to 1924, he became a founding member of Surrealism in 1924, with André Breton and Philippe Soupault. In 1939 he married Russian-born author Elsa Triolet. Aragon served France in two world wars and lived long enough to ride in gay pride parades in a pink convertible during the 1970s. After the death of his wife in 1970, he lived openly as a homosexual with poet Michel Larivière, who became his lover and companion. He was and still is a popular poet in France because many of his poems have been set to music and sung by a variety of singers.
10-03-1950 Christine Kehoe – Born in Troy, New York. She is an American politician from San Diego, California. A Democrat, she served from 2004 to 2012 as a member of the California State Senate. She left office in December 2012 due to term limits. Effective January 1, 2013, she became the executive director of the California Plug-In Vehicle Collaborative. The collaborative promotes the acceptance and availability of all-electric cars. Kehoe, an out lesbian, is a strong supporter of equal rights for the LGBT community.
10-03-1988 A$AP Rocky (Rakim Mayers) – Born in Harlem, New York City, New York. He is an American rapper, record producer, director, model and music video director. He is a straight ally and sounded off on “the gay thing” in hip hop during an interview with Alexander Wang for Interview Magazine. He said, “For instance, one big issue in hip hop is the gay thing. It’s 2013, and it’s a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It’s crazy. And it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip hop is small-minded or stupid—and that’s not the case.” Rocky said that he treats everybody equal and he wants his listeners and followers to do the same.