08-16-1958 Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone) – Born in Bay City, Michigan. She is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. She is the winner of two Grammy Awards, as well as a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for Evita (1996). Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records. Madonna is considered a gay icon. She has always been outspoken about LGBT rights. In November of 2010, Madonna appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to speak against the bullying of gay teens. In her conversation with Ellen, Madonna said she became close to the gay community as a teenager, stating she felt different in high school and found acceptance and sympathy among gay friends, particularly her dance instructor. She also said, “In fact, I wouldn’t have a career if it weren’t for the gay community.” Madonna’s brother, Christopher, is gay.
08-16-1923 – 11-25-2005 Pierre Seel – Born in Haguenau, Bas-Rhin, France. He was a gay Nazi concentration camp survivor and the only French person to testify openly about his deportation during WWII because of his homosexuality. In 1994, Seel published the book Moi, Pierre Seel, déporté homosexual (I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual), written with the assistance of journalist and activist Jean Le Bitoux. The book subsequently appeared in translation in English, German, and Spanish. Seel appeared on national television and in the national press in France. His story was featured in a 2000 documentary film on the Nazi persecution of, Paragraph 175, directed by San Francisco filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Returning to Germany in 2002 for the first time since the war, Seel received a five-minute standing ovation at the documentary’s premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. In June 2019, Paris, France named a street Pierre Seel Street.
08-16-1875 – 1964 Jeannette Marks – Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Marks was an educator and head of the English Department at Mount Holyoke College. She also did a great deal of research on narcotics and published several books pertaining to drug addiction. Marks was a member of the National Woman’s Party, the first organization to support the Equal Rights Amendment. After her retirement in 1941, she moved permanently to her childhood home, Fleur De Lys, on Lake Champlain in New York with Mary Woolley, the 11th President of Mount Holyoke College. She was the lover of Mary Emma Woolley (b. July 13, 1863) for 52 years.
08-16-1929 – 04-16-2016 Maurice Kenny – Born in Watertown, New York. He was an American poet with strong ties to the Mohawk people. His father was of Mohawk and Irish heritage, from Canada, and his mother was part English and Seneca. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Kenny was increasingly involved in Native American activism, especially after the Occupation of Alcatraz in 1969. In 1973, he wrote a poem I Am the Sun dedicated to Wounded Knee protesters and activists that was adapted to a traditional Lakota chant.
08-16-1943 Dennis Altman – Born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, to Jewish immigrant parents. He spent most of his childhood in Hobart, Tasmania. In 1964 he won a Fulbright scholarship to Cornell University, where he began working with leading American gay activists. Returning to Australia in 1969, he taught politics at the University of Sydney. In 1971 he published his first book, Homosexuals: Oppression and Liberation – considered an important intellectual contribution to the ideas that shaped gay liberation movements in the English-speaking world. In March 2013 Altman wrote about the death of his partner of 22 years, Anthony Smith, who died from lung cancer in November 2012.
08-16-1980 Vanessa Carlton – Born in Milford, Pennsylvania. She is an American singer-songwriter. Her debut single, A Thousand Miles, reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2002. Her fifth studio album, Liberman, was released in 2015. On June 19, 2010, Carlton came out as bisexual while headlining Nashville Pride. She stated to the attending audience, “I’ve never said this before, but I am a proud bisexual woman.” On December 27, 2013, she married John McCauley and had her first child in 2015.